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New species of bat named from central coastal Ecuador

A diminutive bat with cinnamon-brown coloring collected in 1979 in Ecuador by mammalogist Don Wilson of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History represents a new species  a recent paper in the journal “Mammalian Biology” has revealed.

Myotis diminutus, as the new species was named, is the smallest bat known from South America and is described from the physical characteristics of only one specimen.

bat specimens from a museum collection

Skin, cranium and mandibles of Myotis diminutus.

Naming of this bat was delayed for years “in anticipation of additional specimens coming available,” write the authors of the paper,  Don Wilson and Ricardo Moratelli of  the Campus Fiocruz da Mata Atlântica, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz in Brazil.  “However, the continuing disappearance of forest habitat on the western slope of the Andes over the past 3 decades argues against further delay….As with many other newly described species, we know nothing about the natural history of this bat. Unfortunately, the prospects for learning more are bleak.”

Skin, cranium and mandibles of Myotis diminutus.

Skin, cranium and mandibles of Myotis diminutus.

To make the determination that Myotis diminutus is a new species, Wilson and Moratelli compared cranial and other characteristics of the new bat specimen to hundreds of bat specimens collected across South and Central America. Myotis diminutus is at least the fifth new species of mammal described from the Pacific Coastal area of western Ecuador in recent decades.


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