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article imageNew species of bat discovered (revised and updated)

By Tim Sandle     Apr 20, 2013 in Environment
Scientists have 'discovered' a new species of bat called Niumbaha superba (or the Pied Bat) from South Sudan. This is one of the few new species of bat to have been discovered in several decades.
Whilst 'discovered' might be an exaggeration, for a field report indicates that the bat may have been spotted in 1939 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the new finding represents the first time that scientists have been able to characterize and identify the bat.
According to The Scientist, the bat has been found in the relatively new country of South Sudan. It has unusual black-and-white markings, which, on careful study, differentiate it from all other known bat species. The bat has been called Niumbaha superba for “rare” or “unusual” in the local Zande language ( spoken by the Azande, primarily in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and western South Sudan, but also in the eastern part of the Central African Republic). The common name for the mammal is the Pied Bat. It is a species of species of vesper bat.
The identification was carried out by DeeAnn Reeder of Bucknell University and her team. In a press release, Reeder said: "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." Only five specimens have been collected to date.
Reeder goes on to say: "Our discovery of this new genus of bat is an indicator of how diverse the area is and how much work remains. Understanding and conserving biodiversity is critical in many ways. Knowing what species are present in an area allows for better management. When species are lost, ecosystem-level changes ensue,” she said. “I’m convinced this area is one in which we need to continue to work."
The findings have been published in the journal ZooKeys.
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