Whiskered Myotis (Myotis muricola)

 

 

Description

The Whiskered Myotis is a small, insectivorous occurring in forested and cultivated areas. It is well known for roosting by day in young, rolled-up banana leaves. In Thailand large colonies are also reported as roosting in caves.

The fur is dark brown to dark grey on the upperside, and medium to pale grey underneath. The wing membrane extends to the base of the toes, and almost fully encloses the tail. The ears are moderately long and pointed, the eyes small, and the snout blunt.

Range Description:

This widespread species has been recorded throughout much of northern South Asia, central and southern China and most of Southeast Asia. In South Asia, the species is presently known from Afghanistan (Balkh, Faryab, Kabul, Konarha and Kunduz provinces), Bhutan (no exact location, Das 2003), India (Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Uttaranchal and West Bengal), Nepal (Central Nepal) and Pakistan (North West Frontier Province and Punjab), and has been recorded between 1,230 and 2,700 m asl (Molur et al. 2002). It has been found in Xizang, Sichuan, Yunnan in mainland China, and has been reported from the island of Taiwan (Smith and Xie 2008). In Southeast Asia, it appears to be present throughout the mainland and widespread in insular Southeast Asia being recorded from Indonesia (the Mentawi Islands, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Sulawesi, Ambon and Bunguran), the island of Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia), and throughout the Philippines, with records from Biliran, Busuanga, Leyte, Luzon (Cagayan, Laguna, Rizal and Kalinga Provinces [Heaney et al. 2004]), Maripipi, Negros (Heaney et al. 1998). Specimens from Culion Island and Camarines Sur Province (Luzon Island) previously referred to this species are now considered to represent Myotis ater (Heaney 2005). The specimen previously reported from Bukidnon, Mindanao is of uncertain identity (Heaney 2005). In the Philippines, it has been recorded from near sea level to 1,600 m asl (Rickart et al. 1993; Heaney et al. 2004).
Countries: Native:
Afghanistan; Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines; Singapore; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Vietnam

Population:

This is a common bat in Southeast Asia, and is particularly abundant at higher elevations (Sedlock pers. comm. 2006). In South Asia, the localities and the colonies are scattered with small populations per colony. A declining trend in the population is being observed (Molur et al. 2002). There is only a single record of this species from the island of Ambon, Indonesia.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology:

 Total length 69-81 mm; tail 30-38 mm; hind foot 6-8 mm; ear 11-14 mm; forearm 30-34 mm; weight 3-4.5 g. Like all Myotis, the ears are relatively long; the tragus and long and slender, coming to a blunt point; the nostrils are simple (not tubular); and the muzzle is not swollen. The dorsal pelage is dark brown, sometimes with slightly paler tips; ventral pelage is similar but grayer and paler overall. The wing membrane attaches to the side of the foot at the base of the toes. This species is found in primary and secondary montane and lowland forests, scrub, secondary growth and gardens. It roosts either singly or in small groups of few individuals among tightly rolled leaves of the broad-leaved trees especially banana, also in caves and tree hollows. It is a fast and early flyer, with bats often encountered in the forest understory and in gaps along streams (Rickart et al. 1993; Molur et al. 2002; Heaney et al. 2004; P. Bates and G. Csorba pers. comm. 2006; Sedlock pers. comm. 2006; Smith and Xie 2008). This species of bats is often found roosting in curled up leaves of banana plants.
Size: About 3.7 cm without tail.
Diet: Consists of insects.
Activity: Nocturnal.
Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

In Southeast Asia, there are no major threats to this adaptable and widespread species as a whole, although some populations are locally threatened by habitat degradation (largely from mining and logging operations, and ongoing human settlement). In South Asia, the habitat of this species is being deforested for timber, firewood and conversion to agricultural use. This species is also considered to be locally threatened at some localities due to scientific collection for research purposes (Molur et al. 2002).

 Conservation Actions:

This species is presumably present in a number of Southeast Asian protected areas. In South Asia, although there are no direct conservation measures in place, the species has been recorded from protected areas like the Murree National Park in Pakistan and the Langtung National Park in Nepal (Molur et al. 2002). Further studies are needed on distribution, abundance, breeding biology, general ecology and population monitoring.

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