Tiny bat discovered on islands off Africa

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
June 25, 2009





The Natural History Museum in Geneva, Switzerland has announced the discovery of a bat species new to science on the Comoros Island arichpelago off the south-east coast of Africa. The bat weighs only 5 grams (0.17 ounces).

The new bat from Comoros has been named Miniopterus aelleni, honoring the late Villy Aellen, former head of Geneva museum and bat specialist. The species is thought to have originated from nearby Madagascar. The islands are also home to an Endangered species of bat, the Livingstone’s flying fox which is estimated to have 1,200 individuals left.

Despite Miniopterus aelleni small size, it is far larger than the bumblebee bat, also known as Kitti's hog-nosed bat, which is the world’s smallest bat and one of the world’s smallest mammals—as big as a bee and weighing less than 2 grams.

The Comoros Islands are no strangers to scientific discoveries: the coelacanth stunned the world when it was first discovered off the islands. This prehistoric fish had been believed to be extinct since the Cretaceous.

Since the turn of the century, approximately 10 new species of mammal are discovered each year.





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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (June 25, 2009).

Tiny bat discovered on islands off Africa.

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0625-hance_newbat.html