Myotis nimbaensis

Myotis nimbaensis, shown here, is a new types of bat called for the mountain range in which it is found, the Nimba Mountains in West Africa. Credit: © Bat Preservation International

A group of researchers led by the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Preservation International have discovered a brand-new species of a striking orange and black bat in a range of mountains in West Africa. The types, which the scientists expect is most likely critically threatened, highlights the value of sub-Saharan “sky islands” to bat variety. The species is explained today in the journal American Museum Novitates

” In an age of extinction, a discovery like this provides a twinkle of hope,” stated Winifred Frick, primary scientist at Bat Preservation International and an associate research professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Finding a brand-new mammal is uncommon.

Myotis nimbaensis Illustration

This illustration shows Myotis nimbaensis, a new types of bat found in the Nimba Mountains of West Africa. Credit: Fiona Reid

In 2018, Frick and her colleagues at Bat Preservation International and the University of Maroua in Cameroon were in the Nimba Mountains in Guinea conducting field studies in natural caves and mining tunnels, called adits, that were built in the 1970 s and 1980 s and have given that been colonized by bats. In partnership with the local mining business, Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (SMFG), the researchers are trying to understand which bat species utilize which adits and at what times of the year.

Of particular interest is Lamotte’s roundleaf bat, Hipposideros lamottei, which is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically threatened and has only ever been taped in the Nimba Mountains. Much of its known population resides in the adits, which are in various states of collapse and will vanish in time. While surveying for this bat, the scientists discovered something strange– a bat that looked absolutely nothing like Lamotte’s roundleaf bat and did not match the descriptions of any other species that they knew taken place in the location. Later that night, they got in touch with American Museum of Nature Curator Nancy Simmons, a bat professional and chair of the Museum’s Department of Mammalogy, for help.

” As quickly as I looked at it, I agreed that it was something brand-new,” said Simmons, the lead author of the paper and Bat Preservation International Board member. “Then started the long course of paperwork and collecting all the information required to show that it’s indeed unlike any other known types.”

Nimba Mountains

A chain of “African sky islands,” the Nimba Mountains in Guinea have peaks rising between 1,600 -1,750 meters (about 1 mile) above sea level and are surrounded by drastically different lowland habitats. They are house to extraordinary biodiversity, including bats. Credit: © Bat Preservation International

Through morphological, mor ¬ phometric, echolocation, and hereditary information, including comparative data from collections at the Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the British Museum, the researchers described the new species, which they called Myotis nimbaensis (” from Nimba”) in acknowledgment of the mountain range in which it is discovered. A chain of “African sky islands,” the Nimba Mountains have peaks rising in between 1,600 -1,750 meters (about 1 mile) above water level and are surrounded by considerably various lowland habitats. They are house to extraordinary biodiversity, consisting of bats.

” In addition to the Lamotte’s roundleaf bat, it’s possible Myotis nimbaensis might be the second bat species found only in this specific mountain range,” stated Jon Flanders, Bat Preservation International’s director of threatened types interventions.

This research study is part of an ongoing effort important in helping the Nimba Mountain bats endure. Bat Conservation International and SMFG have already started working together to construct brand-new tunnels, enhanced to last for centuries and in habitat away from the mining project, for the Lamotte’s roundleaf bat.

Recommendation: “A brand-new dichromatic types of Myotis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Nimba Mountains, Guinea (American Museum novitates, no. 3963)” by Simmons, Nancy B.; Flanders, J.; Bakwo Fils, E. M.; Parker, Person; Suter, Jamison D.; Bamba, Seinan; Keita, Mamady Kobele; Morales, Ariadna E.; Frick, Winifred F., 13 January 2021, American Museum Novitates
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Other authors on the study include Eric Moïse Bakwo Fils from the University of Maroua; Guy Parker, Jamison Suter, and Seinan Bamba from SMFG; Mory Douno from the Ministry of the Environment, Water, and Forests in Guinea; Mamady Kobele Keita from Guinée Ecologie; and Ariadna Morales from the American Museum of Nature and limit Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genes, Dresden, Germany.

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