Leaf-nosed bats sighted after 37 years of extinction

A species of the bats identified as leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros Fulvus), aboriginal to the Thar desert, has been re-sighted by a group of zoological researchers roosting in ancient caves at Daijar near Jodhpur. The bat specie has been re-sighted after 37 years, last being not reported since 1979 in the Thar.

A thorough search inside the cave and its channels has revealed the presence of more than 20 individuals of leaf-nosed bats in a separate chamber in one of the closed channels. Further analysis of the baculum and DNA of one male individual confirmed their identity as the extinct Fulvous Leaf Nosed Bat.

Leaf-nosed Bat:

  • Medium to small species of bicolor group of the genus Hipposideros with characteristically very large ears, the tips of which are broadly rounded.

Background:

There are 25 species of bats are reported in Rajasthan, of which 17 are found in the Thar desert.

Of these 17 species, five species –

  • Greater False Vampire Bat (Megaderma lyra),
  • Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros fulvus),
  • Indian Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros lankadiva),
  • Dormer’s Pipistrelle Bat (Scotozous dormer)
  • Egyptian Free-tailed Bat (Tadiarida aegyptiaca) – were not reported since 1979 in the Thar.

Reason for Re-appearance:

Bat species are highly habitat specific and require specific temperatures and humidity for roosting, with the massive spurt in canal irrigation and relative humidity in the Thar, there has been the ecological changes in the region which can be attributed for this introduction of the once extinct bats in the Thar.