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."
Greg Borzo | EurekAlert!
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences