A team of international network of researchers describes a new species of woolly horseshoe bat from Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand). The new species is described from specimens in museums world-wide including a 32 years old spirit specimen.
The study (led by SEABCRU member Pipat Soisook) is one of many output of an international collaborative network of researchers in different 11 institutions based in six different countries. The paper is published in the latest issue of Acta Chiropterologica.
The first specimen of the new species was collected at around 1600 m on Gunung Trus Madi in Sabah, Malaysia, by Charles M. Francis in 1983. This specimen is kept in the Natural History Museum, London after since and was being regarded as a ‘melanistic’ Rhinolophus trifoliatus until this study. Together with additional specimens from Kalimantan, Indonesia and from Thailand, researchers, by using morphological, acoustic and genetic data, reveal that they are a new species to science. The new species then is named ‘Rhinolophus francisi’ to honor C. M. Francis for his great contribution in Southeast Asian bat taxonomy.
The new species is currently known only from Sabah, Kalimantan in Borneo and Ratchaburi Province, W. Thailand. A single specimen from Thailand is described as a different subspecies, namely ‘Rhinolophus francisi thailandicus’ or Thailand’s Wooly Horseshoe Bat’. Anyway the authors mentioned that additional specimens from Thailand may prove that this Thai subspecies is a distinct species, and future surveys in forest habitats of mainland Southeast Asia may reveal that it is actually widespread in the region.
Soisook, P., Struebig, M. J., Noerfahmy, S., Bernard, H., Maryanto, I., Chen, S. F., Rossiter, S. J., Kuo, H. C., Deshpande, K., Bates, P. J. J., Sykes, D. and Miguez, R. P. (2015) DESCRIPTION OF A NEW SPECIES OF THE RHINOLOPHUS TRIFOLIATUS-GROUP (CHIROPTERA: RHINOLOPHIDAE) FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA. Acta Chiropterologica, 17(1): 21–36