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New thick-thumbed bat species discovered in bamboo forest in Meghalaya

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    21st Jun, 2022


A team of scientists has discovered a new species of thick-thumbed bat from a bamboo forest in Meghalaya and named it after the state, which is celebrating its 50 years of statehood.

Key-highlights of the new species

  • The scientists have named the new species as Glischropus meghalayanusin honour of the state from where it was discovered and also in celebration of the 50th anniversary of statehood of Meghalaya in 2022.
  • The new species is reported from a bamboo forest near Lailad in Ri-Bhoi district in Meghalaya, which is adjoining to Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary. 
  • This genus Glischropus (thick thumbed bat) is the first report from South Asia; the only new dis-covery from India in over a decade. 
  • The discovery of Glischropus meghalayanus from a forest patch adjacent to Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary from where another specialized bamboo- dwelling species (Eudiscopus denticulus) was reported recently also underscore the importance of the area from a conservation point of view.
  • With this new discovery, the total number of bat species known from India stands at 131 species with Meghalaya harbouring the highest bat diversity in any Indian state with 67 species.

Bat species in India

  • The bat is something of a chimera: it has wings like a bird, the furry face of a mouse, it often flies zigzag or flits giddily like a moth.
  • It belongs to the taxonomic order ‘Chiroptera’, derived aptly from the Greek words for ‘hand’ and ‘wing’.
  • India has no less than 131 species of bats — yet very little is known about their population status, their behaviour, or their role in the spread of zoonotic disease.
    • Most species are listed as ‘data deficient’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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