Saccolaimus saccolaimus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Emballonuridae

Scientific Name: Saccolaimus saccolaimus (Temminck, 1838)
Common Name(s):
English Bare-rumped Sheathtail-bat, Naked-rumped Pouched Bat, Pouch-bearing Bat, Pouched Bat
Saccolaimus affinis Dobson, 1875
Saccolaimus crassus Blyth, 1844
Saccolaimus nudicluniatus De Vis, 1905
Saccolaimus pluto Miller, 1910
Taxonomic Notes: Five valid subspecies are recognised currently within Saccolaimus saccolaimus: affinis (Borneo), crassus (South Asia and mainland South East Asia), nudicluniatus (Melanesia, Australia, possibly Timor Island), pluto (Phillippines), plus the nominate (Java, Sumatra) (Simmons 2005). The Melanesian and Australian populations are referred to the subspecies S. s. nudicluniatus, and it is not clear whether the Northern Territory population is part of the nominate race, though mitochondrial DNA studies showed limited differences between Northern Territory and Queensland groups (Milne et al. 2009). Taxonomic studies are ongoing (K.N. Armstrong unpublished).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-07-31
Assessor(s): Lumsden, L.
Reviewer(s): Armstrong, K.
Contributor(s): Csorba, G., Bumrungsri, S., Francis, C.M., Helgen, K., Bates, P., Heaney, L., Balete, D.S. & Thomson, B.

This bat is listed as Least Concern given its wide distribution, use of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population size in at least some parts of its range, its occurrence in protected areas, and the absence of significant key threats or evidence for a decline that would affect a significant proportion of the population. 

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This widespread species ranges from South Asia, through parts of continental and Island South East Asia, Melanesia and Australia. In South Asia, it is presently known from Bangladesh (Sylhet division) (Sarker and Sarker 2005, Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu 2005), India (Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) and Sri Lanka (North Central, Uva and Western provinces) (Molur et al. 2002). In South Asia, it has been recorded from sea level to 1,200 m asl (Molur et al. 2002). It has been recorded from continental South East Asia in Myanmar, southern Thailand, Cambodia (known only from a collection in Phnom Phen; G. Csorba pers. comm.), south-western Viet Nam, Peninsular Malaysia and possibly Singapore.

Within Island South East Asia, S. saccolaimus has been recorded from the islands of Sumatra (Indonesia) and Java (type locality: Indonesia), Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia only), Sulawesi (Indonesia), the island of Timor (Indonesia and Timor-Leste), Halmahera (Indonesia), the Talaud Islands (Indonesia) and Ternate Island (Indonesia), and the Philippines. In the Philippines it has been recorded from sea level to 800 m asl (Heaney et al. 1998) from Catanduanes, Luzon and Mindoro (Corbet and Hill 1992), Mindanao (Misamis Oriental, Zamboanga del Sur provinces), and Negros (Heaney et al. 1998) although it is likely to occur throughout the country except for the Batanes/Babuyan region (L. Heaney pers. comm. 2006). It has been recorded from scattered localities on the island of New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), on Yapen Island (Papua Province, Indonesia), on the Bismarck Archipelago and the Trobriand Islands (Papua New Guinea), on Bougainville Island (Papua New Guinea). It has also been recorded from the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and from the Top End of the Northern Territory and the eastern coast of northern Queensland in Australia (Corbet and Hill 1992; Flannery 1995a,b; Bonaccorso 1998; Hall et al. 2008).
Countries occurrence:
Australia; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


In general, this is a common species. In South Asia, the population status is considered to be poorly known, but according to Bates and Harrison (1997) it is abundant. In the Philippines, it is poorly known, but might be moderately common in agricultural areas (Heaney et al. 1998), and is probably common in populated areas, but this require confirmation as there has been little direct survey work undertaken in these modified habitats (L. Heaney pers. comm.). It is common locally in other parts of its Southeast Asian range outside of the Philippines. In Australia, it is present at relatively low density, and while the number of records has increased in the last two decades, the overall verifiable observations are relatively low and many museum specimens are the result of collections derived from felled trees. Echolocation calls that might be attributable to S. saccolaimus have been recorded on several occasions in Papua New Guinea (Sandaun, Gulf, Western, Morobe and Southern Highlands provinces; K.N. Armstrong and K.P. Aplin unpublished data), suggesting it might be widespread, but capture is required for verification.

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The ecology of S. saccolaimus varies somewhat according to subspecies and region. In the Nicobar Islands in India, it is found in dense forests near the coast. In Sri Lanka, it has been recorded from dense forests, swamp habitat and plantations. There, diurnal roosts include hollows of old and decaying trees including Kitul Palm and Arecanut Palm, old buildings and rocky crevices in small colonies of five or six. No sexual segregation is observed in roosts. This species is known to feed on termites, beetles and other insects and sometimes forages close to the ground in open areas. It is also known to fly fast and high, up to 300 – 400 m from ground, and over forest canopy. It is recorded to emerge very early in the evening from its roost to forage (Bates and Harrison 1997). In South East Asia, the species is commonly observed over modified habitats, including agricultural areas. In some parts of Asia, roosts have been observed in buildings and shallow caves, sometimes in large groups. In the Philippines, roosts have mainly been observed in hollow coconut trees (L. Heaney pers. comm. 2006). In Australia and Melanesia S. saccolaimus has been recorded in dry open sclerophyll woodland, tall open eucalypt forests, dense tropical moist forest, open Pandanus woodland, and coastal lowlands. It roosts mainly in tree hollows, with colonies ranging in size from a few individuals to several hundred animals. Females gives birth to a single young (Flannery 1995a,b; Bonaccorso 1998; Hall et al. 2008;). 


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There are no major threats to this widespread and adaptable species as a whole. In South Asia, it is locally threatened by deforestation, generally resulting from logging operations and from conversion of land to agricultural and other uses (Molur et al. 2002). In Australia, it is threatened in coastal Queensland by clearance of coastal tropical woodland and inappropriate burning regimes, which might affect roost availability (Woinarski et al. 2014). 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Saccolaimus saccolaimus has been recorded from many protected areas, and over much of its range no direct conservation actions are needed. In South Asia, the species has been recorded from protected areas such as Campbell Bay National Park (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh). Further studies are needed on distribution, abundance, breeding biology and general ecology of this species. In South Asia, populations of this species should be monitored to record changes in abundance and distribution. There is also a need to identify populations that are being threatened by human induced habitat alterations in order to develop mitigation measures (C. Srinivasulu pers. comm.). It has been recorded from several protected areas in Australia, however, there is a need to identify and protect important roosting and foraging sites for the species. Further studies are needed in Australia into the distribution, abundance, natural history and threats to this species. Work to better characterise its echolocation call in the context of other low-frequency emitting bats would help environmental assessments. Taxonomic studies focussing on the Australasian populations need to be completed. 

Citation: Lumsden, L. 2017. Saccolaimus saccolaimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T19802A22004019. . Downloaded on 26 April 2018.
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