New Orange and Black Bat Species Discovered in Nimba Mountains of Africa
To the joy of conservationists, a new species of beautiful orange and black bat was found in the Nimba Mountains in Guinea, West Africa. The newly discovered bat has an unusual contrast of orange and black hues and has been described be to critically endangered.
The survey team from the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International made the discovery in the Nimba Mountains in 2018. While the team tried to find an endangered bat species which lived in the old mining tunnels of the mountains, they stumbled upon another species.
Earlier the scientists didn’t realize that they have made a new discovery. They thought the bat has some sort of abnormal color and not a new species. It took nearly two years to determine that the bright orange-colored bats, in fact, belonged to a different and previously unknown species.
Called the ‘Myotis Nimbaensis,’ the new species derives its name from the Nimba Mountains where they were first discovered. It also highlights the importance of sub-Saharan “sky islands” – mountain peaks about a mile above sea level that has entirely different habitats than those of surrounding lowlands – to bat diversity.
According to Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International and an associate research professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz,
In an age of extinction, a discovery like this offers a glimmer of hope. It’s a spectacular animal. It has this bright-orange fur, and because it was so distinct, that led us to realize it was not described before.
The Nimba Mountains are home to pristine biodiversity, including bats. Various bat species have colonized the region’s natural caves and mining tunnels, known as adits, which were built in the 1970s and 1980s. These tunnels are especially important to one particular species of bat – the Lamotte’s roundleaf bat, Hipposideros lamottei – which is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List.
The scientists analyzed morphological, morphometric, echolocation, and genetic data to describe the new species, which they expect is also endangered. Although little is known about the population and distribution of Myotis Nimbaensis, scientists are hopeful that it will help in a profound understanding of the animal. It has become imperative for the human race to put genuine efforts to protect such amazing species from extinction.