Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Sucker-footed Bat Discovered In Madagascar

Date:
January 5, 2007
Source:
Field Museum
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a new species of bat that has large flat adhesive organs, or suckers, attached to its thumbs and hind feet. This is a remarkable find because the new bat belongs to a Family of bats endemic to Madagascar -- and one that was previously considered to include only one rare species.

New species of sucker-footed bat (M. schliemanni) with open wings: Ventral view of the holotype of Myzopoda schliemanni obtained in the Parc National d'Ankarafantsika in the western portion of Madagascar and recently described in Mammalian Biology. Previously, only one species in this endemic Malagasy Family of bats was known to science. Now there are two.
Credit: Photo by Steven M. Goodman, Courtesy of The Field Museum

Scientists have discovered a new species of bat that has large flat adhesive organs, or suckers, attached to its thumbs and hind feet. This is a remarkable find because the new bat belongs to a Family of bats endemic to Madagascar--and one that was previously considered to include only one rare species.

The new species, Myzopoda schliemanni, occurs only in the dry western forests of Madagascar, while the previously known species, Myzopoda aurita, occurs only in the humid eastern forests of Madagascar, according to new research recently published online in the journal Mammalian Biology. The new species is obviously different from the known species based on pelage coloration, external measurements and cranial characteristics, according to the researchers.

Myzopoda are often found in association with broad-leaf plants, most notably Ravenala madagascariensis or the Travelers' Palm, a plant that is endemic to Madagascar but has been introduced to numerous tropical countries. Myzopoda are found in association with such plants because they can use their suckers to climb and adhere to the leaves' flat, slick surface. They are presumed to roost in the leaves during the day.

Myzopoda were considered endangered because of their limited distribution and the notion that the family included only one species. The new research, however, modifies both of these ideas.

The researchers determined that Myzopoda is not endangered by the loss of the moist tropical forests because the bat appears to have adapted very well to the large broad-leaf Ravenala that are often pioneering plants in zones where the original forests have been cleared and burned.

"For now, we do not have to worry as much about the future of Myzopoda," said Steven M. Goodman, Field Museum field biologist and lead author of the study. "We can put conservation efforts on behalf of this bat on the backburner because it is able to live in areas that have been completely degraded, contrary to what is indicated or inferred in the current literature."

This underlines the importance of basic scientific research for establishing the priorities for conservation programs and assessments of presumed rare and possibly endangered animals, the study concludes.

Due to the physical similarities between M. schliemanni and M. aurita, the researchers concluded that one species probably evolved from the other, most likely after the bat dispersed across the island from east to west.

Bats are the last group of land mammals on Madagascar that have not been intensively studied, Goodman said. "Until a decade ago, these animals remained largely understudied. On the basis of recent surveys and taxonomic research, about one-third of the island's bat species were unknown to scientists until a few years ago, and the majority of these are new to science."

Only about eight percent of Madagascar's original forest cover remains, as the forests continue to be cleared by associated subsistence agricultural activities and to provide wood energy for urban zones. The island, which is found off the eastern coast of Africa, remains one of the most critically threatened areas in the world, in terms of biodiversity. Madagascar has a higher level of endemism (with plants and animals found nowhere else) than any other landmass in the world of comparable size. "Still today, you can go out and discover things in Madagascar that have never before been seen by scientists," Goodman said. "The sense of discovery is almost levitating."

The other co-authors of the research are Fιlix Rakotondraparany, lecturer in the Animal Biology Department at the University of Antananarivo, and Amyot Kofoky, graduate student at the University of Mahajanga.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Field Museum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Field Museum. "New Sucker-footed Bat Discovered In Madagascar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070105151427.htm>.
Field Museum. (2007, January 5). New Sucker-footed Bat Discovered In Madagascar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070105151427.htm
Field Museum. "New Sucker-footed Bat Discovered In Madagascar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070105151427.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins