Mormopterus beccarii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Molossidae

Scientific Name: Mormopterus beccarii Peters, 1881
Common Name(s):
English Beccari's Free-tailed Bat, Beccari's Mastiff Bat
Mormopterus astrolabiensis Meyer, 1888
Taxonomic Notes:

The species Mormopterus beccarii has recently been redefined (Reardon et al. 2014), and its geographic distribution is now considered to be restricted to the Maluku Islands of Indonesia, the New Guinea mainland and islands. However, museum specimens representing this species exhibit considerable morphological variation suggesting the likelihood of cryptic species (T.B. Reardon et al. unpub.).  Bonaccorso (1998) recognised two subspecies—beccarii beccarii from Mimika River, southern West Papua and Maluku, and beccarii astrolabiensis from mainly northern Papua New Guinea.  Specimens from Australia formerly included in M. beccarii are now M. lumsdenae (Reardon et al. 2014). Mormopterus beccarii is included in the subgenus Ozimops (Reardon et al. 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-07-31
Assessor(s): Reardon, T.
Reviewer(s): Armstrong, K.
Contributor(s): MacKenzie, B.

Mormopterus beccarii is known from about 20 scattered localities from Ambon and Halmahera to Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea (Bonaccorso,1998).  All record dates are older than the period of three generations of this species (18 years), and most are older than 40 years.  The absence of recent records most likely reflects the lack of recent survey effort in the Moluccan Islands, and the lowlands of New Guinea and associated islands. The extent of occurrence of all current records well exceeds 20,000 km2, although the area of occupancy could be interpreted as <500 km2.  However, the type of habitat present where records exist is extensive, and therefore it is reasonable to infer that M. beccarii remains widespread and is not facing major threats across its distribution. There is no information on population trend.  While this assessment tentatively places this species in Least Concern, if cryptic species are uncovered, then the status of each of the new taxa would need reassessment.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Based on accumulated records, this species ranges from the Maluku Islands of Halmahera, Ambon, and Seram (Indonesia), through mainland New Guinea, to New Britain and Fergusson Island, Milne Bay.  It is found from sea level to 300 m asl.  The most recent specimens are from Seram Island, collected in 1993, and these are much smaller animals than those from neighbouring Ambon Island.  Ambon specimens were collected around 40 years ago, and the remainder are from >80 years ago.  Specimens from West Papua were collected in 1911, while those from Halmahera were collected in 1985.  

Countries occurrence:
Indonesia; Papua New Guinea
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The population size is not known.  If the historic records are indicative of both the current distribution and preferred habitat, then the total current population is likely to greatly exceed 10,000 mature adults.  It is likely that there are numerous populations, given the island distribution and extent of occurrence.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

All locations where information is available are from coastal or near lowland rivers.  Specimens attributed to this species from the Trans Fly region of Papua New Guinea were collected from hollows in Melaleuca trees (Waithman 1979).  One individual is recorded from a cave near Madang (McKean 1972), although this is thought to be atypical of roosting preference. Bonaccorso (1998) reports that the species is often commensal with people, living in their houses.  Localities for Ambon are unknown. A small series of individuals from Seram Island are from the coastal locality of Solea.


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Threats to coastal and lowland habitats include forest clearance for plantations and gardens, logging (both legal and illegal), mining and fire. These threats are likely to be more significant on the coast and lowlands of the Maluku Islands.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Priorities include more survey work to clarify the distribution and key habitat.  Taxonomic studies are required to resolve the nature of the morphological variation seen amongst available museum specimens.  There are no specific conservation actions that consider this species.  The known distribution includes several conservation areas in Papua New Guinea, Halmahera and Seram

Citation: Reardon, T. 2017. Mormopterus beccarii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T13880A22085684. . Downloaded on 25 April 2018.
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