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article imageRare Panda-looking bat found in South Sudan receives new name

By Igor I. Solar     Apr 11, 2013 in Science
Lewisburg - A team of researchers found a bat with a strong resemblance to a panda. The animal, the fifth recorded capture of the species, was discovered in South Sudan; it is distinct from other species of the same group and has been classified in a new genus.
Dr. DeeAnn Reeder, mammal specialist and associate professor of biology at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, first saw the animal in the Bengangai Game Reserve in South Sudan. On her return to the United States, Reeder compared it to a similar specimen caught near the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1939, which was classified as Glauconycteris superba. Reeder and her colleagues observed details that were not consistent with the description of bats belonging to the genus Glauconycteris.
"My attention was immediately drawn to the bat's strikingly beautiful and distinct pattern of spots and stripes. It was clearly a very extraordinary animal, one that I had never seen before," said Reeder according to Science20. "I knew the second I saw it that it was the find of a lifetime. After careful analysis, it is clear that it doesn't belong in the genus that it's in right now. Its cranial characters, its wing characters, its size, the ears — literally everything you look at doesn't fit. It's so unique that we need to create a new genus."
The animal is so different, the experts proposed a new genus for this species, of which only five specimens have been collected. The study was published April 5 in the journal ZooKeys under the title "A new genus for a rare African bat vespertilionid: insights from South Sudan." As a result of the investigation, Reeder and her colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution and the Islamic University in Uganda, identified the bat in a new genus called Niumbaha, meaning "rare" or "unusual" in Zande, the language of the Azande people, of north-central Africa.
More about Niumbaha, Glauconycteris superb, Rare bat, south sudan, Bucknell University
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