Long-winged Tomb Bat (Taphozous longimanus)


HB: 65-75; T: 24-33; FA: 57-63; E:20; HF:11.

This is a sexually dimorphic species, with males usually cinnamon brown and females usually dark grey; both sexes may be speckled with white. Only the males have a larger gular sac; females have a naked patch of skin at the corresponding area ( female melanopogon) has fur under the chin. The fur on the head continues to below the eyes. The wings are long and narrow, and attached to the ankles .


They do not seen to require a totally dark roost and they bhang up in rows under the eaves of larger houses which are more exposed to the light, merely shifting their position if the sun shines directly upon them. They also roost in a wide variety of biotypes, including hollow trees, caves and wells, they are gregarious, roosting in groups of between 2-20 individuals. They hunt alone, starting about 15 minutes after dusk and returning to the same territory each evening. Each female becomes pregnant more that once a year and most probably there is continual breeding , with pregnancies in quick succession. This reproductive behaviour is unique amongst old world bats. Many of the bats seen flying over Bangkok at about 30 meters above ground about half an hour after dusk are of this species.

 Range Description:

This species is widespread in South Asia and Southeast Asia. In South Asia, it has been recorded from Bangladesh (location unknown) (Khan 2001, Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu 2005), India (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal), Nepal (location unknown [Bates and Harrison 1997]) and Sri Lanka (Eastern, Northern, Uva and Western provinces) (Srinivasulu et al. in press; Molur et al. 2002). In Southeast Asia, it ranges from Myanmar in the west, into northern Thailand and Cambodia. It is present in Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores and is also present on the island of Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia). The eastern limit of the distribution in Southeast Asia is uncertain, however, the species has yet to be recorded from either Lao PDR or Viet Nam (P. Bates pers. comm.). It has been recorded to occur up to 1,200 m asl.
Countries: Native:
Bangladesh; Cambodia; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Sri Lanka; Thailand
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.


In South Asia, it is widespread living in large colonies in the hundreds. In many places the populations are considered to be stable (C. Srinivasulu pers. comm.). In Southeast Asia, the species is locally common, with colonies consisting of hundreds of bats in Cambodia (G. Csorba pers. comm.).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology:

Throughout its range this species is found in varied habitats from arid areas to humid zones. It roosts in caves, old tunnels, caves created due to mud excavation, old forts, dungeons (C. Srinivauslu pers. comm.), large wells, hollows and crowns of trees, eaves of houses. It roosts in colonies from single animals to hundreds of bats. It is an early and fast flyer and feeds on cockroaches and beetles. There are two breeding seasons-one in mid January and the other in mid May (Bates and Harrison 1997).
Systems: Terrestrial

 Major Threat(s):

 Overall there appear to be no major threats to this species. In South Asia, some populations may be threatened due to disturbance to roosting sites by humans (Molur et al. 2002), while in Southeast Asia, disturbance from guano mining is a localised threat to some populations.

 Conservation Actions:

In South Asia, although there are no direct conservation measures in place, the species is reported from Hazaribagh National Park in Jharkhand and Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh (Molur et al. 2002), and it is likely to be present in most of the protected areas in peninsular India (C. Srinivasulu pers. comm.). In Southeast Asia, in view of its wide range it probably occurs in some protected areas. Further studies are needed into the taxonomy, distribution, abundance.