Two new bat species discovered on St Eustatius island

This video says about itself:

24 September 2015

The “Hispaniolan greater funnel-eared bat” is a species of funnel-eared bat found on the island of Hispaniola. First described in 1902, it has a complex taxonomic history, with some authors identifying multiple subspecies, now recognised as the separate species “Natalus primus” and “Natalus jamaicensis”, and others considering “Natalus major” to be itself a subspecies of “Natalus stramineus“. It lives primarily in caves and feeds on insects.

The Hispaniolan greater funnel-eared bat was first described scientifically in 1902 by Gerrit Miller as “Natulus major”. The holotype was the skin and skull of a male preserved in alcohol, which was collected “near Savanata”, presumed to mean Sabaneta. The Cuban greater funnel-eared bat, described in 1919, has been considered a subspecies of “N. major”: “N. major primus”, but is now recognised as a different species by the IUCN. Similarly, “N. major jamaicensis”, described in 1959, is now recognised as a distinct species: “Natalus jamaicensis”. Previous reports of “Natalus” on the island had also been referred considered “Natulus major”.

The genus “Natalus” was traditionally placed into three subgenera: “Natalus”, “Chilonatalus” and “Nyctielleus”. Within this taxonomy, the “N. major” was placed in the subgenus “Natalus”, along with the genus’s type species the “N. stramineus” and “N. tumidirostris”. However, morphological analyses in the 2000s supported promoting the subgenera to generic status. The genus is characterised by the large, bell-shaped and face-covering natalid organ, by features of the ears and by osteological differences between it and its relatives. “N. major” can be distinguished from other members of its genus by its larger size and differing distribution. However, some authors have argued that the “N. major” should be considered conspecific with the “N. stramineus”, and conservative estimations that some or all Natalidae species were in fact forms of “N. stramineus” were common. Recent studies which have included “N. major” within “N. stramineus” include those by Hugh Genoways and colleagues, supported by a later paper which claimed that there were no “structural” differences between the populations. A 2005 study conducted by Adrian Tejedor and colleagues concluded the three populations of “Natalus” were distinct to a degree that they should be considered separate species, and so the author offered new descriptions of the three.

Translated from the Dutch Mammal society:

Two new bat species discovered on St Eustatius

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Sleep in a hammock in the crater of a dormant volcano, seven liters of water per person on your back, a box of research materials, nets and poles, getting them up the volcano at 35 degrees Celsius: it has not been in vain. On the edge of the crater of the volcano The Quill on St Eustatius the Lesser Antillean long-tongued bat was captured, a species so far unknown for the island. And as the icing on the cake the next morning the Mexican funnel-eared bat, also new to the island, flew around the hammock. Sil Westra, Wesley Overman and Ellen Norren report about their bat research as part of the expedition led by Naturalis museum.

5 thoughts on “Two new bat species discovered on St Eustatius island

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