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.

Range Description:

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).
Countries: Native:
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. comm. 2006).
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.
Systems: Terrestrial

 Major Threat(s):

 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.

 Conservation Actions:

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).