Old World sucker-footed bat (Myzopoda aurita)

loading
Old World sucker-footed bat
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Old World sucker-footed bat fact file

Old World sucker-footed bat description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderChiroptera
FamilyMyzopodidae
GenusMyzopoda (1)

This peculiar looking bat is one of only four sucker-footed bats in the world, and is found only on the island of Madagascar. Their prominent feature, and the origin of their name, is the horse-shoe shaped suction pads on the thumbs and soles. The Myzopoda sucker-footed bats differ from the other two sucker-footed bats in South America, as their suckers are not borne on small stalks. The large ears possess a tragus, and a unique small mushroom-shaped process lies at the base. The lips are wide, with the upper lip protruding significantly beyond the lower, and the thumb has a small vestigial claw. The fur varies from mid-brown to a rich golden-brown and is tinged with russet (2) (3). The long tail projects beyond the membrane that stretches between the arms, legs and elongated fingers to form the wings (4). The Old World sucker-footed bat was believed to be the only species in the genus Myzopoda until early 2007, when a new species (Myzopoda schliemanni) was discovered in Madagascar. It differs from Myzopoda aurita in the colour of its fur, its external measurements and features of the skull (5).

Size
Length: 105 - 125 mm (2)
Weight
8 – 10 g (2)
Top

Old World sucker-footed bat biology

This rare and little studied bat is only known from a few specimens. What is known about it is that its remarkable suction pads enable it to cling to smooth vertical surfaces. Glands secrete a substance directly onto the surface of the suction pads to aid adhesion to a surface, creating a bond strong enough to support the bat’s entire body weight. One specimen was found roosting in the uncoiled leaf of the palm Ravenala madagascariensis and therefore it is presumed to roost in palms and similar vegetation. It roosts with the head uppermost whilst using the tail as a prop (2) (3). The Old World sucker-footed bat possesses a complex echolocation system and produces remarkably long calls, used to hunt insects, in particular small moths (2).

Top

Old World sucker-footed bat range

Endemic to Madagascar, the Old World sucker-footed bat has been found at a number of localities on the eastern coast, and at a couple of locations in western Madagascar (2) (6).

Top

Old World sucker-footed bat habitat

The Old World sucker-footed bat is thought to be restricted to rainforest and the ‘savoka’, or secondary forest (2) (3).

Top

Old World sucker-footed bat status

Classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

Top

Old World sucker-footed bat threats

Like many other Malagasy species, the loss of forest habitat certainly poses a threat to the Old World sucker-footed bat. The forests of Madagascar face continuous and intensive pressure from encroaching agriculture, fire and over-exploitation, all intensified by growing human populations (7). However, the extent to which it may be impacted is hard to determine due to the lack of information regarding this species’ behaviour and ecology. If the Old World sucker-footed bat roosts primarily in Ravenala, its roost sites may be secure as this palm species is more common in secondary, rather than primary, forest (8).

Top

Old World sucker-footed bat conservation

At present there are no known conservation measures in place specifically for the Old World sucker-footed bat, however it does occur in at least one protected area; the Ankarafantsika National Park in the Mahajanga Province. The IUCN/SSC Chiroptera Specialist Group outlines a number of conservation actions recommended for this species including carrying out further research on distribution and abundance, using radio-tracking to establish roosting and foraging requirements, and designating critical areas as reserves (8).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

For further information on the Old World sucker-footed bat and its conservation, see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Echolocation
Detecting objects by reflected sound. Used by bats, whales and dolphins for orientation and detecting and locating prey.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Tragus
A flap of skin-covered cartilage in front of the external opening of the ear.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
    http://iucnredlist.org
  2. Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, Sussex.
  3. Schliemann, H. and Maas, B. (1978) Myzopoda aurita. Mammalian Species, 116: 1 - 2.
  4. Macdonald, D.W. (2006) The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Goodman, S.M., Rakotondraparany, F. and Kofoky, A. (2007) The description of a new species of Myzopoda (Myzopodidae: Chiroptera) from western Madagascar. Mammalian Biology, 72: 65 - 81.
  6. Goodman, S.M., Andriafidison, D., Andrianaivoarivelo, R., Cardiff, S.G., Ifticene, E., Jenkins, R.K.B., Kofoky, A., Mbohoahy, T., Rakotondravony, D., Ranivo, J., Ratrimomanarivo, F., Razafimanahaka, J. and Racey, P.A. (2005) The distribution and conservation of bats in the dry regions of Madagascar. Animal Conservation, 8: 153 - 165.
  7. World Wildlife Fund (June, 2007)
    http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/at/at0117_full.html
  8. Hutson, A.M., Mickleburgh, S.P. and Racey, P.A. (2001) Microchiropteran bats: global status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Available at:
    http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2001-008.pdf
X
Close

Image credit

Old World sucker-footed bat  
Old World sucker-footed bat

© Vitaliy Matveev

Dr Vitaliy Matveev
Laboratory of Theriology
Department of Vertebrate Zoology
Faculty of Biology
Moscow State University
Moscow
Russia
vital-m@mail.ru

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Old World sucker-footed bat (Myzopoda aurita) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog