New bat species discovery in Asia


Hypsugo dolichodon. Photo by: Judith L. Eger

From Inspire Wildlife:

New Bat Species Packs A Bite

Emily Stewart, April 26, 2015

A new bat species has been identified in the rainforests of Lao PDR and Vietnam, and it has a set of fangs which would make any dentist quake in their boots. Named the long-toothed pipestrelle (Hypsugo dolichodon) the species is most closely related to the Chinese pipestrelle (Hypsugo pulveratus) although it is much larger in overall size as well as fang length.

But why does the long-toothed pipestrelle sport such impressive dentures?

It is believed the large fangs may be a result of niche segregation, whereby it could grab larger prey or beetles with a harder exoskeleton and thus removing competition from other species for food. In essence, evolution has allowed the long-toothed pipestrelle to create its own ecological niche within its environment.

Despite first being trapped in 1997 by Charles M. Francis, and Antonio Guillén it has taken 17 years to formally identify the bat as more evidence was needed to determine it was a separate species. However genetic analysis has now proven the species was until now unknown to science. This is highly exciting news and can mean a variety of things.

Foremost we cannot ignore the fact that usually when a new species is identified it usually already endangered. To name but a few examples; the bahian mouse-colored tapaculo a small Brazilian songbird discovered in 2014 is under threat from logging, the first new river dolphin to be discovered in a century last year is though to be highly endangered and a tree dwelling porcupine (Coendou speratus)identified in 2013 is also thought to be vulnerable to deforestation.

As is often the answer in these cases, more research is needed into the long-toothed pipestrelle to determine whether conservation action is needed. Although currently one of the areas where a specimen has been caught is currently being destroyed by the construction of a dam along the Xe Kaman River in Lao PDR. Despite the vegetation of this area being obliterated, Tamás Görföl lead author of the paper identifying the new species does not proclaim this to be death knell for the bat.

In an interview with Mongabay, he claims that although the dam threatens the species, they can “presumably survive in other areas of its distribution if we stop the deforestation of the tropical landscapes”. He also adds that they may be a cave dweller so the protection of caves may also be needed. Another factor is that although the species current distribution is only known to be within Vietnam and Lao PDR it is possible it may be more widely distributed, something which the study and genetic analysis of previously collected materials can reveal.

Bats play a huge ecological role in their environment and every discovery of a new species can be exciting as they can reveal more hidden secrets about the world we live in. Hopefully the long-toothed pipestrelle will buck the trend and be a newly discovered species which is not immediately endangered.

For More Information:

GÖRFÖL, TAMÁS, GÁBOR CSORBA, JUDITH L. EGER, NGUYEN TRUONG SON, and CHARLES M. FRANCIS. “Canines make the difference: a new species of Hypsugo (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Laos and Vietnam.” Zootaxa 3887, no. 2 (2014): 239-250.

New Bat Species has Fangs you won’t believe

Rare bat rediscovery in Albania


This video says about itself:

Bechstein’s Bat being handled by a licenced bat worker during box monitoring work.

From Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bat species rediscovered after 20 years in Vjosa River

Two decades after it was “lost”, the Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii) has been spoted by PPNEA researchers working in the Vjosa river banks. In the spring and summer of 2014, a team lead by our bat initiative coordinator Philippe Theou, surveyed for the presence of bat nursery roosts the south of Albania near the Vjosa river, one of the last wild rivers in Europe.

Between June and July 2014, two new observations of M. bechsteinii were recorded near the Vjosa river. One refers to a cave situated near the village of Mezhgoran, where a cluster numbering 16 bats was observed on the 14th June 2014. The other observation refers to the canyon of Lengarica near the village of Benjë, which is directly connected to the Vjosa River.

All these data represent the only records available in Albania since 1995, and increases the number of known locations from one to three in total. The number of data is unfortunately far too low to make any inference on the population status of this species. However, it seems clear that the woody banks of rivers of southern Albania represents important habitats for this species, as all the data available until now have been collected in locations situated at an approximate distance of 20m from the river bank.

Bechstein’s bat is a EU protected species since it is a rare species that occurs at low densities and has specific habitat requirements, such as Vjosa river banks. Its population is fragmented and its sedentary habits mean that it does not colonize new areas easily. As stated above, there is very little information on population trends, but it is suspected that the species is declining as a result of the loss and degradation of specific types habitats, compounded by other threats such as increased human disturbance due to ongoing construction of hydro-power plants in the river. This underlines the importance of these unique ecosystems which represents the last wild rivers in Europe, and point-out the need for future development measures for their protection and conservation.

For more information on this discovery please read the full text of the scientific article published at Ecologica Montenegrina journal by Philippe Theou and our good colleague Marina Djurovic from Montenegro. (click here to read the article).

Bat Appreciation Day, April 17th 2015


This video is called Secrets and Mysteries of Bats – Nature Documentary.

From Save the Bats in the USA:

As a part of ‪#‎BatAppreciationDay2015‬ on April 17th, we’re asking all our friends to sign our pledge to limit pesticide use in their own homes! This is an easy way for everyone to help not only bats, but birds, bees, and butterflies too! Spread the word, SIGN the pledge, and SHARE it with your friends! ‪#‎SaveTheBats‬

Sign the pledge here.

Saudi war on Yemen, dangerous escalation


This Reuters video says about itself:

Yemen air strikes kill at least 23 in factory – residents

1 April 2015

An air strike on Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodaida hits a factory, killing at least 23 in what appeared to be one of the biggest losses of civilian life in Saudi-led campaign. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Robert Fisk

Thursday 2 April 2015

Yemen crisis: What will Saudi Arabia do when – not if – things go wrong in their war with the Shia Houthi rebels?

They might ask the Pakistanis to send part of their vast army into the cauldron – but that would not be adding oil to the fire. It would be adding fire to the oil

The depth of the sectarian war unleashed in Yemen shows itself in almost every Gulf Arab official statement and in the official press.

The Saudis take it as read that Iranian forces are actually present in Yemen to assist the Shia Houthis. There are Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon with the Houthis. Iran is itself behind the Houthi uprising.

The Houthis are of the Zaidi tendency within Shia Islam; much closer to Sunni Islam than the Iranian state version of Shia Islam is. But facts never seem to deter conspiracy theorists.

One Kuwaiti journalist calls the Houthi rebels “rats”. As usual in Arab wars, real evidence has gone out of the window.

Another journalist, the editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti Arab Times, Ahmed al-Jarallah, concluded a political tribute to King Salman of Saudi Arabia with the observation that “leaders of the (Saudi) coalition for virtue and stability in Yemen and the region made their point through their offensive against the tunnel and vice of conspiracy where the bats of extremism, enmity and division incubate”.

1. Supporters of of the Saudi, Kuwaiti, etc. dictatorships should not use terms of abuse for people disagreeing with those dictatorships.

2. ‘Rats‘ and ‘bats‘ should not be used as terms of abuse.

Look at this video about how interesting rats can be.

This video says about itself:

Why do naked mole rats live so long?

6 December 2011

Naked mole-rats can live for more than thirty years in captivity, far more than than other rodents. What is more they don’t appear to get cancer. We don’t know why they live so long, but sequencing the naked mole rat genome might give some clues. In this video we hear from Dr Chris Faulkes from Queen Mary, London University. Chris has a colony of mole rats in London and showed them to me during our interview. We’ve uploaded a transcript of the full interview to give you even more insights into naked mole rats and what their unique biology can reveal.

And look at this video about how interesting bats can be.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Bat Biology in Pennsylvania. Part 1 of 2

17 February 2010

A day in the field with Pennsylvania biologist Greg Turner. Filmed in an iron ore mine near Danville PA. Film and music by Van Wagner.

And bats, though they fly, are placental mammals, not birds. So they don’t ‘incubate’ any eggs, Mr Ahmed al-Jarallah.

The Robert Fisk article continues:

“Rats” and “incubation” – that’s the kind of language sectarian wars also produce. No-one in the wealthy Gulf states has asked if Saudi Arabia is entering the Yemen war simply because it does not want another Shia state on its border – after the Americans “liberated” Iraq and installed a Shia government in Baghdad. Saudi generals talk of massive casualties among the Houthis – they still say they have not killed civilians, even though they use the tired phrase “collateral damage” in their denials. No-one challenges the boasts of its victory – or dares to mention that this extraordinary coalition is a Sunni force fighting Shia.

At a Syrian refugee conference in Kuwait this week, the Saudis were lauded for their generosity in pledging $60m for homeless and destitute Syrians out of a total of $3.8bn of promised aid world wide. No-one was ungenerous enough to mention that the Saudis bought $67bn worth of weapons from the US in 2011-12.

With that kind of money you might be able to buy up most of the protagonists in the Syrian war and get them to agree on a ceasefire. But this is the figure that makes sense of the Yemen war.

That, and the fact that Pakistan is part of this extraordinary coalition. Pakistan is a nuclear power – “Saudi Arabia’s nuclear bomb outside Saudi Arabia”, as one conference delegate bleakly put it in Kuwait.

There are 8,000 Pakistani troops based in the Saudi kingdom. And Pakistan is one of the most corrupt and unstable nations in South-west Asia. Bringing Pakistan – widely believed to have shipped second-hand weapons to anti-government rebels in Syria via Saudi Arabia – into the Yemen conflict is not adding oil to the fire. It’s adding fire to the oil.

Iran has maintained a diplomatic silence. When Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal accused Iran of supporting the destabilisation of Yemen, the Iranian deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that the Saudi attack was a “strategic mistake”, a comparatively mild reaction.

Perhaps that is what you expected to hear when the Iranian minister’s nation was still trying to persuade the Americans to lift sanctions against Tehran. Or perhaps he actually meant what he said, which means that the Saudis may find it to have been easier starting a war in Yemen than ending one.

But outside the Gulf, there are sectarian Sunni-Shia conflicts in Iraq, Syria, even marginally in Lebanon.

The leader of the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, scored a point in his own country when he asked why the Saudis were prepared to fight the Houthis with their huge forces but had never raised the sword to fight for the Palestinians.

Saudis are being told to regard their country’s struggle as a decision even more important than Saudi Arabia’s appeal to the US to send troops to the land of the Two Holy Mosques in 1990 – a view Osama bin Laden might have disagreed with.

What is less clear, however, is where Washington stands amid all this rhetorical froth in the Gulf and real dead bodies in Yemen. There have been reports in the Arab states that US drone attacks have been made as part of the coalition’s battle in Yemen, that American intelligence has been pin-pointing targets for the Saudis (with the usual civilian casualties). There was a time when America’s war in Yemen seemed to be just part of the whole War on Terror fandango throughout the Middle East. Not any more.

And what of Israel? In Kuwait, Arabs privately agreed that Saudi fears of Iran’s nuclear potential suited Israel very well – although there has been no evidence in the Gulf that Israel heartily supported the Saudis to the point of sending them a message of approval over the Yemen assault.

But with the US an ally of both countries, this would be unnecessary. What we now have to learn is what the Saudis will do when – not if – things go wrong.

Ask the Pakistanis to send part of their vast army into the cauldron? Or ask their Egyptian allies to earn their pocket money from Riyadh by sending their soldiers to the land which the greatest of all Egyptian presidents once retreated from with deep regret: a man called Gamel Abdul Nasser.

British Government Refuses to Rule Out UK Sending Drones to Bomb Yemen: here.

Bats of North Sea wind farms, new research


This video says about itself:

Male Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Bat singing

12 September 2014

At a large mixed maternity roost of Nathusius’ and Soprano pipistrelles in Northern Ireland, the males are busy trying to attract females with their songs. This boy had the cheek to sit right at the entrance to the roost so all the females had to go past him. He was a pretty loud and frantic singer so he probably got lucky.

You can see him opening his mouth as he makes each noise, but the camera could not pick up the very high-pitched sounds that he made.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

27 February 2015

You would not expect it, but bats also fly above the sea. Researchers have now shown that in the months of September and October they may even be found regularly in offshore wind farms. Probably the bats pass the windmills when they are migrating, but the researchers also conclude that they sometimes fly there from the continent to catch insects. Nathusius’ pipistrelle was most heard around the windmills, but signals were also heard from common noctule bats.

The study took place in two wind farms off the coast of Egmond.

New research at the University of Exeter and Bat Conservation Ireland has given the lie to the popular belief that streetlights are attractive to our common bat species because of the insect life they attract. The study found that in fact bat activity was lower in street-lit areas than in dark locations with similar habitat. And, in fact, the scientists have concluded bright lights are having a detrimental effect on bats: here.

Bats obey ‘traffic rules’ when foraging for food: here.

Australian little red megabats, prequel videos


This video from Australia says about itself:

Little Red Megabats (flying foxes) just before the fly out 11/02/2015-p1

11 February 2015

Megabats are very important pollinators and seed disperses of many native plants including Eucalyptus, figs, bush apples (Syzygium spp.), bush plums (Terminalia spp.), paperbarks, guerrillas, and fruits of many palm species. The seeds of some plant species (particularly those with white and green fruits) may only be dispersed by Megabats, meaning that these plants rely on Megabats in order to successfully reproduce.

It has been estimated that a single Megabat can dispense up to 60,000 seeds in a single night.

Megabats are also important for nutrient regeneration and nutrient cycling within the ecosystem.

Not only do they provide large quantities of fertilizer to the system, but they create gaps in the canopy which enables other plants to compete more effectively. For instance, some trees shade ground-dwelling plants and shrubs, preventing them from obtaining nutrients, light and rain. By creating a gap in the canopy, Megabats enable these plants to obtain more sunlight, rainfall and nutrients, thus promoting a more diverse plant community, with cascading benefits for many other animals and plants.

This video, and the other ones in this blog post, are parts of a series, of which I had already embedded the last video in another blog post.

Here come the sequels.

And also a video, not part of the series, but about the same species.

This video says about itself:

Tolga Mass Rescue of Little Red Flying Foxes off Barbed Wire

5 October 2012

This rescue involved 108 bats on barbed wire on one day, along a stretch of road and adjacent paddocks near to the Tolga Scrub on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North QLD, Australia.

These bats were Little Red Flying Foxes. They’re mostly juveniles (3 adults only), and oddly enough, nearly all female.

They’re inexperienced, newly returned to the Tolga Scrub. Some of the fencing was new. It was very windy the night before. All these factors combined to cause this horrific scenario.

All surviving bats being cared for at Tolga Bat Hospital.

Bats in Australia, video


This video from Australia says about itself:

Little Red Megabats (flying foxes) the fly out 11/02/2015

12 February 2015

Megabats are very important pollinators and seed disperses of many native plants including Eucalyptus, figs, bush apples (Syzygium spp.), bush plums (Terminalia spp.), paperbarks, guerrillas, and fruits of many palm species. The seeds of some plant species (particularly those with white and green fruits) may only be dispersed by Megabats, meaning that these plants rely on Megabats in order to successfully reproduce.

It has been estimated that a single Megabat can dispense up to 60,000 seeds in a single night.

Megabats are also important for nutrient regeneration and nutrient cycling within the ecosystem.

Not only do they provide large quantities of fertilizer to the system, but they create gaps in the canopy which enables other plants to compete more effectively. For instance, some trees shade ground-dwelling plants and shrubs, preventing them from obtaining nutrients, light and rain. By creating a gap in the canopy, Megabats enable these plants to obtain more sunlight, rainfall and nutrients, thus promoting a more diverse plant community, with cascading benefits for many other animals and plants.