Habitat: South Sudan
Status: Not Evaluated
Bucknell Associate Professor of Biology DeeAnn Reeder and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Programme Officer Adrian Garside knew she had spotted an unusual bat in the South Sudan the second she laid eyes on it. Unusual in that it looked just like a miniature badger!!
“My attention was immediately drawn to the bat’s strikingly beautiful and distinct pattern of spots and stripes. It was clearly a very extraordinary animal, one that I had never seen before,” recalled Reeder. “I knew the second I saw it that it was the find of a lifetime.”
Apparently this bat had been described previously Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1939 but was placed in the genus Glauconycteris. After studying the bat, however, Reeder realized that it didn’t fit in that genus at all and so placed it in its own, new genus, Niumbaha. It is now classified as Niumbaha superba.
“After careful analysis, it is clear that it doesn’t belong in the genus that it’s in right now,” Reeder said. “Its cranial characters, its wing characters, its size, the ears — literally everything you look at doesn’t fit. It’s so unique that we need to create a new genus.”
“To me, this discovery is significant because it highlights the biological importance of South Sudan and hints that this new nation has many natural wonders yet to be discovered. South Sudan is a country with much to offer and much to protect,” said Matt Rice, FFI’s South Sudan country director. FFI is using its extensive experience of working in conflict and post-conflict countries to assist the South Sudanese government as it re-establishes the country’s wildlife conservation sector and is also helping to rehabilitate selected protected areas through training and development of park staff and wildlife service personnel, road and infrastructure development, equipment provision, and supporting research work. || Read more about FFI’s conservation efforts in South Sudan here.
The new genus of bat solely contains this species (for now) but maybe there will be more members discovered in the future!