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.
(06/03/2009) The Australasian Bat Society predicts that the Christmas Island Pipistrelle bat has less than six months left until extinction, unless measures are taken immediately to set-up a captive breeding population.
(10/31/2008) A critically endangered bat species has made a dramatic recovery from the brink of extinction, report conservationists.
(08/30/2007) Allow me to wax poetic about the world’s newest wildlife organization, EDGE. I must admit I’m a little in love. This singular organization was founded in January as a part of the London Zoological Society. Its basic tenants remain similar to other endangered species programs: survey populations, set up conservation programs, work with local governments and communities to ensure protection. However, what is unique about EDGE is not their approach to saving species, but rather the species they choose to focus their efforts on. This year they have selected ten mammalian species: the Yangztee River Dolphin, Attenborough’s Long-Beaked Echidna, Hispaniolan Solenodon, Bactarian Camel, Pygmy Hippopotamus, Slender Loris, Hirola, Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew, Bumblebee Bat, and the Long-eared Jerboa.