Fluffy, Golden Bat From Bolivia ID'd as New Species

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A newly identified species of bat from Bolivia isn’t exactly spooky. It features fluffy golden yellow fur and a cute pug nose.

Myotis midastactus had been seen before, but was classified as another bat found in the Amazon in South America called Myotis simus. Once Dr. Ricardo Moratelli from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil had a chance to examine the unusual bat up close from the collections of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, he realized he was looking at a new species altogether.

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“This new species have been misidentified as Myotis simus since 1965,” Moratelli said in an email to Discovery News. “When I put Amazon and Bolivian specimens side-by-side I realized they were two different species.”

There are more than 100 species of Myotis bats in the world — sharing the trait of mouse-like ears. What makes this new species unique is its bright golden fur. It takes its name midastactus from the Greek legend of King Midas of the legendary golden touch.

The golden furry bat is believed to live only in the savannas of Bolivia where it feeds on small insects. A nocturnal mammal, the bat snoozes in nests during the day in hollow trees, under thatched roofs and in holes in the ground.

Although Moratelli believes the golden bat lives only in this area, so far, he hasn’t managed to capture one from the wild and has based his conclusions, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, on previous collections of the bat.

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“In 2011, I spent two months in the Brazilian Savannah (in the boundary with Bolivia) trying to capture living individuals to get fresh tissues to perform DNA comparisons but none was captured,” said Moratelli.

Despite failing to find a live specimen of the new bat species, himself, Moratelli has been successful in identifying new bat species. This is the fifth new bat species he has identified in his career. His other discoveries include a tiny bat, Myotis diminutus from the Ecuadorian Andes, Myotis lavali from northeast Brazil, Myotis izecksohni from the southern Brazil and Myotis handleyi from northern Venezuela.

– via BBC.

Photo: The new bat species, Myotis midastactus, from Bolivia. Credit: Marco Tschapka (Ulm University)