The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Sunday, March 7, 2021


New bat species with orangutan hue discovered in West Africa
An undated photo provided by Bat Conservation International shows a new species of bat, Myotis nimbaensis, that was discovered in Guinea’s Nimba Mountains. The distinctive looking bat, with a fiery orange body and black wings, is doubly unique for having been discovered in the wild — most new bat species are found as a result of genetic parsing in a lab of bats that look exactly, or nearly, the same. Bat Conservation International via The New York Times.



NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- In 2018, scientists set out on an expedition to survey the habitat of an endangered bat species in the West African country of Guinea. One night, a trap turned up something unusual: a new species of bat with a fiery orange body strikingly juxtaposed with black wings.

“It was kind of a life goal in a way, one that I never thought would happen,” said Jon Flanders, director of endangered species interventions at Bat Conservation International, a nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas. “Every species is important, but you get drawn to the interesting-looking ones, and this one really is spectacular.”

There are more than 1,400 species of bats, and every year more than 20 join the list. Mostly, though, these are lab-based discoveries that involve genetically parsing out cryptic species, or ones that look exactly (or almost exactly) like each other and were formerly thought to be the same.

Just happening upon a new bat species in nature is something entirely different.

“This sort of situation where experienced researchers went out in the field and caught an animal and held it in their hand and went, ‘This is something we can’t identify,’ that’s much more unusual,” said Nancy Simmons, curator of mammals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and chairwoman of the global bat taxonomy group at the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The new orangutan-hued bat, Myotis nimbaensis, lives in Guinea’s Nimba mountains, a verdant series of mile-high peaks rich in biodiversity “just plonked in the middle of this otherwise flat landscape,” Flanders said.

He and his colleagues set out to survey long-abandoned mining tunnels that have become a favorite home to the region’s endangered bats. When they found a fuzzy, pumpkin-orange animal mixed in with the usual brown ones in their trap, they thought it must just be an oddly colored individual.

“When I saw it for the first time, I thought it was a common species,” said Eric Bakwo Fils, a conservation biologist and bat expert at the University of Maroua in Cameroon.

Looking through their identification guides, however, Bakwo Fils and Flanders could not confirm a match with any other African species. When the team got back to camp, unbeknown to each other, Flanders and Bakwo Fils spent much of the night searching textbooks and online resources to try to solve the mystery. They were both unsuccessful.

“The following morning, I met up with Eric and almost at the same time, we said, ‘This is a new species,’” Flanders said.




They reached out to Simmons, who agreed within 15 minutes of seeing the photos that it looked like they had found something new.

The team managed to re-catch the original animal, a male, and also captured a female. Simmons combed through the extensive bat collections at the American Museum of Natural History to compare the two specimens with known species, and she traveled to the Smithsonian National Museum in Washington, D.C., and the British Museum in London to do the same.

The researchers also conducted a genetic analysis, which revealed that M. nimbaensis is at least 5% different from its closest related relatives. They described their findings Wednesday in the journal American Museum Novitates.

Now that the new species confirmation is official, the next step is to learn about M. nimbaensis’ ecology.

“The more we know about it, the more we’ll know how to protect it as well,” Flanders said.

The researchers plan to use M. nimbaensis’ echolocation calls that they recorded in the field to help identify the species in acoustic monitoring that they are already carrying out in the area. From there, they can narrow down the bat’s habitat preferences, which hopefully will lead to protections.

“As far as we know, it’s limited to the top of this mountain range in Guinea,” Simmons said. “It’s probably endangered just by virtue of living in this small part of the planet.”

Bats play critical ecological roles in West Africa, dispersing seeds, pollinating plants and keeping insect species in check. Yet they are persecuted throughout the region because of superstitions, and these ideas have been compounded by the animals’ association with Ebola and other diseases, Bakwo Fils said. Like many other species, they are also threatened by habitat loss.

Bakwo Fils hopes that the excitement generated by the new species can start to motivate protections for the region’s bats.

“This discovery is very important in terms of West Africa’s bat biodiversity, because even if bats are a very important component of our ecosystems, they rarely receive attention,” he said.

© 2021 The New York Times Company










Today's News

January 15, 2021

Caligula's Garden of Delights, unearthed and restored

Christie's to offer Old Master & British Drawings including property from The Cornelia Bessie Estate

Surrealism library gifted to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Guggenheim names first Black Deputy Director and Chief Curator

303 Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Rodney Graham

Mike D is cleaning out the family attic

The real dire wolf ran into an evolutionary dead end

Staley Wise Gallery presents an exhibition of photographs by Kurt Markus

Michael Werner Gallery opens an exhibition of recent paintings by Markus Lüpertz

Tintin painting sells for record 3.2 mln euros at auction

Barbara Weisberger, a force in American ballet, dies at 94

Indigenous beadwork flourishes on Instagram

a/political presents Andrei Molodkin with Robin Bell's "White House Filled with the Blood of U.S. Citizens"

Ki Smith Gallery opens a three-part exhibition featuring Caslon Bevington, Dylan Reitz, and Sei Smith

New bat species with orangutan hue discovered in West Africa

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to remain closed throughout 2021 to allow for essential work

Warhol Foundation announces fall 2020 grants

'A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb' on view online at Whitechapel Gallery

Adolfo Quiñones, an early star of street dance, dies at 65

How classical music can help you hear the open road

Another French intellectual falls after comments on abuse accusations

Beyond blackface: Paris Opera tackles race cliches in repertoire

UK rejected visa-free entry to EU for performers

Is Letterboxd becoming a blockbuster?

4 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Realtor

Understand The Use Of Buying "Ledger Live" In Chinese

A look at the evolution of art style in gaming

Top 3 things every fine artist should take into account when renting a studio

This China Logistics Company is Similar to Amazon




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful