Five New Species of Bats Discovered in West Africa
Five new species of bats have been discovered in West Africa according to an international team of scientists and biologists from the University of York.
The team also includes researchers from the Czech University of Life Sciences and the Academy of Sciences Charles University in the Czech Republic, who discovered an incredible diversity among the Vesper bats in Senegal.
The study was composed of seven expeditions to the Niokolo-Koba National Park in south-eastern Senegal as well as a genetic analysis in which scientists worked to uncover the discovery of five new bat species that looked similar to other populations commonly found in parts of Africa, but different significantly in genetic form.
The researchers studied 213 vespertilionid bats from Senegal in order to identify ten species, five of which were significantly different from other previous nominate species, including the following: Pipistrellus hesperidus, Nycticeinops schlieffenii, Scotoecus hirundo, Neoromicia nana and Neoromicia somalica.
The taxonomists continue to detail information regarding the new species.
"The fact that these Senegalese bats are unrelated and are different to their cousins in other parts of Africa, suggests that West Africa may have been isolated in the past and formed a refugium, where populations gradually diverged and even acquired new chromosomal configurations," Nancy Irwin said, of the Department of Biology at York and a member of the research time, via a press release. "This exciting finding confirms that West Africa may represent an underestimated bio-geographic hotspot with many more species to discover."
More information regarding the study can be found via the Frontiers in Zoology.