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Otomops martiensseni

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CHIROPTERA MOLOSSIDAE

Scientific Name: Otomops martiensseni
Species Authority: (Matschie, 1897)
Common Name(s):
English Large-eared Free-tailed Bat, Martiensen's Free-tailed Bat, Giant Mastiff Bat, Martienssen Bat, Martienssen's Big-eared Bulldog Bat
Synonym(s):
Otomops martiensseni Chubb, 1917 subspecies icarus
Taxonomic Notes: Formerly included Otomops madagascariensis (Simmons 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M., Bergmans, W., Fahr, J. & Taylor, P.J.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably still in significant decline globally (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over ten years), owing to the probable continued loss of the known major East African populations. Smaller populations from southern Africa may be increasing. The status of populations in Central and West Africa, where the species is still known from very few specimens, remains unclear. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion A2c.
History:
2004 Near Threatened
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has been widely, but patchily, recorded from much of sub-Saharan Africa, and from Yemen (Hud Sawa cave, Ar-Rayadi Al-Gharbi Mountains) on the Arabian Peninsula (Al-Jumaily 1999; Hutson et al. 2001). In Africa it has been reported from Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana in West Africa, through Central Africa (recorded from Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and western Uganda) to East Africa (Djibouti [Mount Day], Ethiopia [Sof Omar limestone cave], Kenya and Tanzania) to southern Africa (Malawi, central Angola [Chitau], Zimbabwe, Zambia and eastern South Africa). It has recently been recorded in Eritrea (in a disused railway tunnel 8 km east of Asmara) for the first time (Kock and Zinner 2004). It is found at elevations from sea level to 2,900 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Angola (Angola); Central African Republic; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Malawi; Rwanda; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Although this bat was once considered to be rare, with gaps in distribution, additional collecting has demonstrated local abundance in several areas (Long 1995; Taylor 1998; Fenton et al. 2002; Skinner and Chimimba 2005). For example, it is common around Durban in KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa (Fenton et al. 2002), and is fairly common in Comoe National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. However, major colonies of this species (consisting of hundreds of bats) from caves in East Africa have declined severely and now have few or no bats (Hutson et al. 2001).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Animals have been recorded from a wide variety of habitats ranging from montane tropical moist forest to semi arid environments, and in some instances have been found to be common in urban and suburban areas, foraging in areas of intensive agricultural operations (Fenton et al. 2002). Animals often make long distance foraging flights during the dry season. While it seems as though there is no direct evidence of migration in this species, marked seasonal absence from some areas and from major colony sites during the dry season has prompted the suggestion of migration (e.g. Mutere, 1973). In southern Africa colonies tend to be small (numbering up to 30 animals) and are regularly recorded from buildings (see Fenton et al. 2002). Other populations mainly roost in caves, disused tunnels, trees, hollows and on vegetation. Two of the most well known roosts for this species are the lava caves of Mount Suswa and Ithundu in Kenya.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The leading threat to this species appears to be roost disturbance. Major colonies in East Africa, such as the population at Mount Suswa (Kenya), seem to have disappeared through disturbance of their cave habitats (Hutson et al. 2001). Threats to these caves include guano mining (with associated changes to the cave microclimate), blocking of entrances, recreational caving and general tourism activities. It is possible that the collection of 4,954 bats by Mutere (1973) as part of a reproductive study may have contributed to a decline of the Kenyan populations. Populations in Durban (South Africa) have been found to use old buildings with attics as roosts, and it appears that the main threat to these populations is indirect poisoning through the application of toxic timber treatments (Fenton et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a need to reassess the status of all known roosts (and to locate additional localities) to ascertain numbers and status of colonies, so that key sites can be identified. There is a need to collect better information on the current status of populations in both Central and West Africa. Disturbance of key localities should be restricted or managed to reduce the impact on colonies. The species has been recorded from Comoe National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, it has been recorded from within a national park in Rwanda, and the former large colony at Mount Suswa, Kenya, is believed to be protected (Hutson et al. 2001). This bat is protected by provincial ordinance in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. An IUCN Species Action Plan has been developed for this species (Hutson et al. 2001).

Citation: Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M., Bergmans, W., Fahr, J. & Taylor, P.J. 2008. Otomops martiensseni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 27 November 2014.
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