LIFESTYLE

'King Midas' Bat From Bolivia Identified As A News Species

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What do you get if you combine Dracula with Big Bird? Apparently you get a bat with the Midas touch.

Scientists have revealed that a furry, yellow-haired bat that roams the Bolivian savannah is a new species and not a variant of a previously known species that is found in Brazil

The discovery was made by Dr. Ricardo Moratelli from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil while examining specimens at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“This new species have been misidentified as Myotis simus since 1965,” Moratelli said in an email to Discovery News. “When I put Amazon and Bolivian specimens side by side I realized they were two different species.”

The bat, which looks like it came about after a bat mated with a canary, was named Myotis midastactus after the mythical King Midas.

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Besides its golden fur, the animal is distinguished by its pointed mouse-like ears. It builds nests in trees, under thatched roofs or in the ground during the day while hunting small insects at night.

There are over 100 species of Myotis – or mouse-eared bats – in the world.

Moratelli’s discovery was tainted a bit by the fact that he has not captured one from the wild and has based his conclusions, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, on previous collections of the bat.

“In 2011, I spent two months in the Brazilian Savannah (in the boundary with Bolivia) trying to capture living individuals to get fresh tissues to perform DNA comparisons, but none was captured,” Moratelli said.

This is no reason, however, not to trust Moratelli, as he has become prolific in identifying the furry, flying creatures. This is the fifth new bat species he has identified in his career with others including Myotis diminutus from the Ecuadorian Andes, Myotis lavalifrom northeast Brazil, Myotis izecksohni from  southern Brazil and Myotis handleyi from northern Venezuela.

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