Scientists discover new bat species with sticky disks in Meghalaya


GUWAHATI: In a recent discovery, a team of scientists from the Zoological Survey of India(ZSI) has discovered a new bat species in Meghalaya’s Lailad area near Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary.

The flying mammal(Eudiscopus Denticulus) is India’s first bamboo-dwelling bat with sticky disks. The bats are very distinctive in appearance with prominent disk-like pads in the thumb with bright orange colouration.

The finding by ZSI’s Uttam Saikia, Rohit Chakravarty, Vishwanath D. Hegde and Asem Bipin Meetei has been published in the latest edition of a Swiss journal– Revue Suisse de Zoologie.

“From the modifications in its feet, it was presumed to be a bamboo-dwelling species which was later identified as a disk-footed bat. This bat is reported to roost inside bamboo internodes aided by its adhesive disks. So far, this species has only been reported in a few localities in Southern China, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar,” Dr. Saikia said in a statement.

“When researchers compared the DNA sequence of this bat species with that of the same species found in Vietnam they found that the DNA sequences were very identical. Very interestingly, despite a large geographic distance separating the samples, they were found to be identical. And they were also found to be genetically very different from all other known bats bearing disk-like pads,” the statement further said.

Dr. Saikia and his team have been documenting the bat fauna of India for the last few years and have reported several interesting species from Meghalaya and raising the tally to 66 bat species from the state.

This new bat species takes the count of flying mammals in India to 130.

(With inputs from Outlook)