Wrinkle-Lipped Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida plicata)
HB: 65-75; T:30-40; FA: 40-40; E: 21-24; HF:8-9; W: 17=31G.
The upper lip is markedly wrinkled. The pelage is sort and dense, with the upperparts dark brown, slightly darker towards the tail; the area over the shoulders is more thinly haired. The underparts are slightly lighter, with some of the hairs on the belly having grey or whitish frosting. The face is covered with stiff, short, black bristles; the nostrils protrude, making a "button nose". The ears are thick, round and broad, joined on the front of the muzzle; the tragus id quite small, separated posteriorly from the larger antitragus by a deep notch. The body is heavy, supported by rather narrow wings. The tail is free for over half the lenght. The first and fifth toes are thickened, with numerous tactile hairs protruding from the sides. The braincase is slightly inflated, with low sagittal supraorbital crests.
These bats which roost in Rakang cave consume 30-40 million insects per night.
This very widely distributed species is found throughout much
of South Asia, southern and Central China, most of mainland Southeast Asia, and
much of insular Southeast Asia. In South Asia, this species is very widely
distributed and is presently known from India (Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka,
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar
Pradesh and West Bengal) and Sri Lanka (Central and Western Provinces) (Molur et
al. 2002). It has been recorded from sea level to an elevation of 950 m asl. The
species is likely to be found in Bangladesh (Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu 2005).
In China it has been recorded from Gansu, Yunnan, Hainan, Guangxi, Guangdong,
Hong Kong, and Guizhou (Smith and Xie 2008). It is present in Myanmar,
Thailand, western Cambodia and Peninsular Malaysia in mainland Southeast
Asia. Within insular Southeast Asia it is wide ranging, and is found on the
islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Lombok (all to Indonesia), Borneo (Brunei,
Indonesia and Malaysia), and the Philippines. In the Philippines there are
records from Leyte, Luzon (Cagayan, Isabela, Pampanga, and Rizal provinces),
Mindanao (Cotabato) (Taylor 1934), Cebu and Negros (Heaney et al. 1998).
Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Thailand; Malaysia; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Vietnam
This is a widespread but localized species which occurs
in large colonies usually in caves. In South Asia, this species is widespread in
its range in India, but is found in few locations. The Sri Lankan population is
stable (W. Yapa pers. comm.) (Molur et al. 2002). In China, colonies ranging
from a few hundred to more than 200,000 have been reported (Smith and Xie 2008).
In Peninsula Malaysia the species is common and widespread although there are
very few recent records. The total population in Thailand is around eight
million, with a single population of over two million individuals (S. Bumrungsri
pers. comm. 2006); it is a very abundant species in Myanmar (P. Bates pers.
Population Trend: Unknown
This species can form large colonies of thousands of bats that
typically roost in caves, but can also be found in crevices in rocks, old
disused buildings and temples. Populations generally forage close to roost
sites, and have been recorded hunting in forested areas and over rice fields. It
is a high and fast flyer that feeds on insects and other invertebrates.
In South Asia, the habitat of this species is being
deforested for timber, firewood and conversion to agricultural use. It is also
threatened due to extraction and mining activities (Molur et al. 2002). In
mainland Southeast Asia, a colony of 300,000 bats was destroyed in northern
Myanmar as a result of limestone extraction for cement manufacture (P. Bates
pers. comm.), and a colony of hundreds of thousands of bats was eradicated as
pests in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia (P. Bates pers. comm. 2006). In the Philippines,
this was formerly among the most abundant bats in some large caves. However,
virtually all of the known large colonies have now been extirpated, including
the loss of a very large colony from Leyte in 1984 (L. Heaney pers. comm. 2006).
The remaining population is probably declining due to forest loss, disturbance
in caves (guano mining, hunting), and tourism (Heaney et al., 1998). The only
recent reports since 1980 are from northern Luzon (Danielsen et al. 1994; Heaney
et al. 1998), and two recent records from Cebu (L. Heaney pers. comm. 2006). It
parts of its range, such as Lao PDR and Borneo, over harvesting of this species
for food is leading to significant population declines.
In South Asia, there are no direct conservation measures in place for this species and it has not been recorded from any protected areas in South Asia. Protection of key roost sites, surveys and habitat management are urgently recommended along with public awareness (Molur et al. 2002). In Southeast Asia, while many large colonies are protected in countries such as Myanmar and Thailand by villagers and monks (P. Bates and S. Bumrungsri pers. comm. 2006), and the species has been recorded from a number of protected areas, there is a need to protect key roosting sites and to undertake population surveys in areas of previous decline (eg. Philippines).