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Rare leaf-nosed bats sighted after 37 yrs


JODHPUR: With an extinction record of 37 years, an specie of the bats aboriginal to the Thar desert, has been re-sighted by a group of zoological researchers.Identified as Hipposideros Fulvus (a leaf-nosed bat), the bat has been found roosting in ancient caves at Daijar near Jodhpur.

The colony was found during a routine sighting survey in these caves in October, 2015 at the onset of winter and its presence was reconfirmed in three successive surveys, the last being on in March 2016.

According to Sumit Dookia, an assistant professor at the University School of Environment Management (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi), a thorough search inside the cave and its channels revealed the presence of more than 20 individuals of leaf-nosed bats in a separate chamber in one of the closed channels, the characteristic examination of which indicated their being from Hipposideridae family.

"One male individual was collected and preserved for further analysis of the baculum and DNA, which revealed their identity as the extinct Fulvous Leaf Nosed Bat, a medium to small species of bicolor group of the genus Hipposideros with characteristically very large ears, the tips of which are broadly rounded," Dookia said.
Dookia said that there are 25 species of bats are reported in Rajasthan, of which 17 are found in the Thar desert. Of these 17 species, five species - Greater False Vampire Bat (Megaderma lyra), Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros fulvus), Indian Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros lankadiva), Dormer's Pipistrelle Bat (Scotozous dormer) and Egyptian Free-tailed Bat (Tadiarida aegyptiaca) - were not reported since 1979 in the Thar.

According to the zoologists, the massive spurt in canal irrigation and relative humidity in the Thar, has affected the ecological changes in the region and attribute this introduction of the once extinct bats in the Thar to this ecological change, since bat species are highly habitat specific and require specific temperatures and humidity for roosting.

Dookia said that this cave is in the base of a small hill range, which has legal as well as many illegal open cast stone quarries and the mode of stone extraction involves low level use of explosives.

"This seems to be one of the major concerns that may be creating some disturbance for the roosting species," he said adding that since the caves are close to a ancient temple, the heavy footfall of devotees and tourists may also cause threat to this specie.


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Megabats and Microbats: Rare leaf-nosed bats sighted after 37 yrs
Rare leaf-nosed bats sighted after 37 yrs
Rare leaf-nosed bats sighted after 37 yrs
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