Whiskered Myotis (Myotis muricola)
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.
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).
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
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.
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).
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.