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Latino Daily News

Sunday August 17, 2014

Biologists Discover New Bat Species Native Only to Bolivian Savannas

Biologists Discover New Bat Species Native Only to Bolivian Savannas

Photo: Myotis midastactus

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Brazilian biologist Ricardo Moratelli discovered in Bolivia a new species of golden bat that only lives on the savannas of that country, the director of the Biodiversity and Genetics Center of Cochabamba, Luis Fernando Aguirre, told Efe.

The new species, dubbed “Myotis midastactus,” has golden-yellow fur that is short, wooly and shiny, and its skull is larger than that of other similar species.

Aguirre said that the golden bat lives in the savannas of eastern Bolivia in the provinces of Beni and Santa Cruz.

Myotis midastactus lives in hollow tree trunks and coexists with the fisherman bat, though its population is much smaller: “For every 100 fisherman bats there is one golden bat,” the expert said.

The new bat species was originally classified as “Myotus simus,” a species that inhabits a large area of South America, but after a meticulous analysis of 27 specimens from museums in the United States and Brazil, scientists came to the conclusion that this was an entirely new species endemic to Bolivia.

The director of the Biodiversity and Genetics Center of Cochabamba warned that this is now an endangered species due to the deterioration of the ecosystem it inhabits.

“Trees are being burned and that can put the bat in danger of extinction, because savannas are really very sensitive ecosystems,” Aguirre said.

Ricardo Moratelli’s research has been published in the magazine of the American Society of Mammalogists.

The zoologist said, according to the Bolivian daily Los Tiempos, that “no doubt there are many new species of different zoological groups in the closets of museums around the world, waiting for identification and a formal description.”

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