With a large net and a stroke of luck, scientists have discovered a new bat species that has bright orange fur and black wings. The researchers describe the species, which they name Myotis nimbaenis, in the journal American Museum Novitates. The Myotis nimbaenis, first spotted in 2018, belongs to the Myotis genus, the richest genus of bats known to date, with over 120 species spread across the globe.
The Nimba Mountains
Jon Flanders, the director of endangered species intervention at Bat Conservation International, was leading an expedition with eight other researchers in the Nimba Mountains in Guinea when they found the new bat species. Many bats found to live in the mountains’ abandoned mineshafts that are now unstable and unsafe to enter, so researchers tossed nets at the entrances to trap bats while they flew, reports Darryl Fears for the Washington Post.
The scientists performed a molecular analysis of three individuals captured in the area. Even though the Myotis nimbaenis is visually similar to M. welwitschii, it is genetically closer to M. tricolor. The Myotis nimbaenis is a large bat (females are slightly larger than males), its dorse is bright orange and its body is covered with black fur.
The researchers expect M. nimbaenis to be classified as a critically endangered species since it has a known occurrence of less than 100km2.
For the past several years, more than 20 new bat species have been added to the list, but those discoveries usually come about when scientists tease apart the slight genetic and physical differences between nearly-identical species.
Image Credit: BAT CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL