These are the so-called bats with the face of a dog: Freeman’s bats, collected by Smithsonian researchers in Panama, and Waorani’s dog-faced bat from Ecuador. Two new species of bats of the family “Molossidae” were discovered in Panama and Ecuador, reported the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, based in the Central American country.
These are the so-called bats with the face of dogs: Freeman’s bats, collected by researchers from the Smithsonian in Panama, and Waorani’s dog-faced bat from Ecuador, the scientific body said in a statement.
The researchers characterized the body forms of 242 bats from museum collections in the Americas and Europe, comparing their DNA and adding field observations that included sound recordings, after which they considered that there were eight species in that group, two of them new for The science. This was explained by Ligiane Moras, who was part of the research as a scholar at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) of the Smithsonian in Washington (USA) during his doctoral studies at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
The Freemani dog-faced bat (Cynomops freemani) was discovered in Gamboa, a rain forest bordering the Panamanian capital, by a group of researchers working with the scientist Rachel Page at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).
In 2012, for 19 nights, 19 males and 37 females were captured and released near several abandoned wooden buildings. In August 2017, the existence of this new species was confirmed in Gamboa. Pregnant females were observed in August and juveniles in August and September.
“We were very lucky to catch several different individuals of this species with fog nets and record their calls they were resting in abandoned buildings,” said one of the researchers, Thomas Sattler, who currently works at the Ornithological Institute Swiss.
The Smithsonian explained in a statement Monday that these bats are rarely observed, because they fly high in the night sky and do so much faster than others because of their extremely narrow wings. “It is unusual to capture these insectivorous bats near the ground with fog nets, which is how researchers capture most of the bats they study,” the official information added. Freeman’s dog-faced bat was named in honor of bat researcher Patricia Freeman, who devoted much of her career to understanding the relationships between a group of bats known as molosides or free-tailed bats, which includes bats with dog face.
The discovery of Waorani’s dog-faced bat (C. tonkigui) is based on individuals collected by naturalist Fiona Reid and colleagues, and Diego Tirira of the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Ecuador, the Smithsonian said.
“The name ‘tonkigui’ honors the Waorani tribe of Ecuador that lives in the surrounding forest of one of the capture sites, Tonkigui means bat in Waorani,” the scientific entity added in its statement. He indicated that the study describing these two new species of bats of the family “Molossidae” was published in the journal Mammalian Biology.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution, which promotes the understanding of tropical nature and its importance for the well-being of humanity, trains students to carry out research in the tropics and fosters conservation, the agency said. (I)