Animal Info - New Guinea Sheath-tailed Bat

(Other Names: Greater Sheath-tailed Bat, Kelelawar ekor trubus besar)

Emballonura furax

Status: Vulnerable


Contents

1. Profile
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Size and Weight, Habitat, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization)
5. References


Profile

The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat weighs about 10 g (about 1/2 oz) and is approximately 6 cm (2.5") long.  It has been found from sea level to 1200 m (0 - 3900'). The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat is an insectivore. It is a cave dweller, where it clings to vertical walls in the twilight zone of the cave and emerges before sunset to forage in open areas. The social behavior of sheath-tailed bat species at the day roost includes interactions between rival males, between males and harem females, and between mothers and infants. 

The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat is found from the southwest to the southeast of the island of New Guinea. As of 1998, it was known from only 9 sites, 2 in Irian Jaya, Indonesia and 7 in Papua New Guinea. It is declining due to loss of habitat.


Tidbits

*** The name "sheath-tailed" refers to the juxtaposition of the tail and the membrane that stretches between the hind legs, whereby the last half of the tail protrudes free from the membrane.  By adjustment of the hind legs in flight, the membrane can be lengthened or shortened as it slips over the tail, giving these bats precise maneuverability in flight.  They utilize acrobatic flight as they fly within the understory of the rain forest hunting both airborne and foliage-clinging insects. (Bonaccorso 1998)

*** Etymology of the scientific name of the New Guinea sheath-tailed bat: genus name - "to throw in" + "tail" (Greek), a reference to the separation of the membrane between the hind legs from the tail; species name - "thievish" (Flannery 1995).


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

  • 1988 - 1994: Insufficiently Known 
  • 1996 - 2004: Vulnerable (Criteria: A2c, D2) (Population Trend: Decreasing) (IUCN 2004)

Countries Where The New Guinea Sheath-tailed Bat Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Indonesia (Irian Jaya) and Papua New Guinea (IUCN 2004).

History of Distribution:

The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat is found from the southwest to the southeast of the island of New Guinea. As of 1998, it was known from only 9 sites, 2 in Irian Jaya, Indonesia and 7 in Papua New Guinea. In Irian Jaya it has been found near the Kadari River (southwest Irian Jaya) and on the Japen Islands.  In Papua New Guinea, it has been collected in the following provinces: Chimbu, East Sepik, Gulf, Southern Highlands and Western. (Bonaccorso 1998, Flannery 1995)

Papua New Guinea Location Map (131 Kb JPEG) (Univ. Texas/Maps)

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat is declining due to loss of habitat .


Data on Biology and Ecology

Size and Weight:

The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat weighs 10 - 14 g (0.4 - 0.5 oz).  The head and body lengths of various specimens have been measured at 55 - 61 mm (2.2 - 2.4") (Bonaccorso 1998).

Habitat:

All known records of roosts of the New Guinea sheath-tailed bat are from limestone caves or mining tunnels.  It has been found from sea level to 1200 m (0 - 3900') (Bonaccorso 1998).

Diet:

The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat is an insectivore.

Behavior:

The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat is a cave dweller, where it clings to vertical walls in the twilight zone of the cave and emerges before sunset to forage in open areas. Sheath-tailed bats are visually alert while roosting during the day.  They fly to alternate roost sites if predators or humans approach. (Bonaccorso 1998)

Social Organization:

The social behavior of sheath-tailed bat species at the day roost includes interactions between rival males, between males and harem females, and between mothers and infants. The New Guinea sheath-tailed bat shares its roosting space with other bat species (Flannery 1995).


References

Bonaccorso 1998, Flannery 1995, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Nature Cons. Indo., Nowak 1999Univ. Texas/Maps


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Last modified: January 17, 2005;

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