Bat Resembling Badger Discovered

Is it a bat or flying badger? The yellow stripes on a small black face are reminiscent of a badger, but that is where the resemblance ends. Niumbaha superba is the bat’s name and it didn’t come all that easily, because when it was first discovered the wrong genus was assumed — Glauconycteris superba. DeeAnn Reeder, an Associate Professor of Biology at Bucknell carefully studied the specimen and realized it was a different genus, so they created a new one. (This is only the fifth specimen of the species to ever be documented.)

Image Credit: Bucknell University/DeeAnn Reeder.
Image Credit: Bucknell University/DeeAnn Reeder.

“Our discovery of this new genus of bat is an indicator of how diverse the area is and how much work remains,” she explained. (Source: Mary Bates) Reeder also noted how important conservation of natural habitat and species is because humans still have not scientifically documented much of it. (This is just one reason to preserve it, obviously.)

The bat was discovered in the South of Sudan. On closer inspection it may resemble a huge bumble-bee more than a badger. (A Wired journalist said it looks like a bulldog.)

Bats are very important ecologically because they are plant pollinators and pest eaters. Without them, many fruit-bearing plants would not generate fruits we eat. Also, bats consume astronomical amounts of insects, and some of these are agricultural pests that cause enormous amounts of damage to crops. In the United States, bats have such a positive effect on reducing insect pests that their contribution to agriculture has been valued in billions of dollars each year.

You can read the Sudanese bat in the study: A new genus for a rare African vespertilionid bat: insights from South Sudan. DeeAnn Reeder, Kristofer M. Helgen, Megan Vodzak, Darrin Lunde, Imran Ejotre

ZooKeys 285 (2013) : 89-115

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