Three new bat species, one resembling the Lord of the Underworld, have been discovered in the tropical forests of southern Indochina.
The tiny ‘demon,’ named Beelzebub’s tube-nosed bat, has been seen only in Vietnam.
“We chose the name Beelzebub to reflect the dark ‘diabolic’ coloration of the new species and its fierce protective behavior in the field,” said Gabor Csorba of the Hungarian Natural History Museum.
Bats represent nearly a third of the known mammal species in South East Asia already. But the true number of bat species in the region may be twice current count, based on recent genetic research, said Paul Racey, bat specialist and Vice Chairman of Fauna and Flora International, in a press release today.
Murina beelzebub, like the other two tube-nosed bats discovered, depends on the tropical forest for its survival. The bats are especially vulnerable due to ongoing deforestation in the region, researchers warn.
The new bats, found by biologists and conservationists from the Hungarian Natural History Museum and Fauna & Flora International, are described in the current issue of the Journal of Mammalogy.
Image: HNHM/Fauna & Flora International.
Citation: “Revealing cryptic bat diversity: three new Murina and redescription of M. tubinaris from Southeast Asia.” By Gabor Csorba, Nguyen Truong Son, Ith Saveng, and Neil M. Furey. Journal of Mammalogy. August 2011.