Taphozous troughtoni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Emballonuridae

Scientific Name: Taphozous troughtoni Tate, 1952
Common Name(s):
English Troughton's Sheath-tailed Bat
Taxonomic Notes: Taphozous troughtoni was first described by Tate (1952) from near Mt Isa, Queensland, Australia, and was considered as a junior synonym of T. georgianus (McKean and Price 1967) until taxonomic work by Chimimba and Kitchener (1991). Later work by Reardon and Thomson (unpublished) revised the extent of occurrence from an area within the Mt Isa Inland bioregion (Commonwealth of Australia 2012) to areas through northern Queensland previously attributed to T. georgianus based mainly on allozyme patterns and echolocation calls. Taxonomic studies are ongoing and support the distinction between the two species but are investigating the possibility of introgression given previous observations of morphological intermediates in areas of range overlap (K.N. Armstrong and T.B. Reardon unpublished data).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-07-31
Assessor(s): Armstrong, K., Reardon, T., Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Lumsden, L.
This species is listed as Least Concern given its wide distribution, use of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population size, occurrence in protected areas, and the absence of significant key threats. There are some observations of recent absence in the western parts of its range, but further information is needed before a decline can be concluded and the threatened criteria do not currently apply.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Taphozous troughtoni was thought previously to have a very restricted distribution around the town of Mt Isa in western Queensland, Australia, and predominantly in the Mount Isa Inlier biogeographic region (Hall 2008, Commonwealth of Australia 2012). Following work by Reardon and Thomson (unpublished), it is now considered to be throughout much of the interior, central and near-coastal part of Queensland instead of T. georgianus (Woinarski et al. 2014). 

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Taphozous troughtoni is widespread but it can occur at relatively low density in arid areas where there are few caves deep enough to support small colonies. Larger colonies can be found in landscapes with good availability of rocky outcrop, and especially in tower karst. The overall population is thought to be greater than 10,000 (Woinarski et al. 2014).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

It roosts in caves, abandoned mines and tunnels, crevices, and rocky escarpments within a wide range of habitats and bioregions of the Queensland interior. Colony size is probably limited by the size of roost structures. It forages well above tree canopy and high in open habitats, and show a preference for large high-flying grasshoppers that are sometimes taken back to a roost to be consumed (Hall 2008). Their echolocation call is several kilohertz lower than that of T. georgianus, which produces calls with a characteristic frequency of 25 kHz across its range (Reardon and Thomson unpublished). 


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There are no known major threats to this species, however there are recent observations of absence at sites visited earlier in 2001 as part of the study of Reardon and Thomson (unpublished) in the western part of its range around Camooweal, Mt Isa and Croydon (K.N. Armstrong unpublished data). Further work is required before this could be considered as a decline.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

A Recovery Plan for this species has been developed (Thomson et al. 2001). The species is known to be present in several protected areas. Taxonomic work needs to be concluded to clarify geographic boundaries (K.N. Armstrong and T.B. Reardon unpublished data).

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.2. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Other Subterranean Habitats
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Chimimba, C.T. and Kitchener, D.J. 1991. A systematic revision of Australian Emballonuridae (Mammalia: Chiroptera). Records of the Western Australian Museum 15: 203-265.

Commonwealth of Australia. 2012. Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA7) regions and codes. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Available at:

Hall, L. S. 2008. Troughton’s sheath-tailed bat Taphozous troughtoni. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia, pp. 483-484. Reed New Holland, Reed New Holland.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2017).

McKean, J. L., and Price, W. J. 1967. Notes on some Chiroptera from Queensland, Australia. Mammalia 31: 101-119.

Reardon, T. and Thomson B. (unpublished). Taxonomy and conservation status of Troughton’s sheathtail bat – (Taphozous troughtoni). Report to the Natural Heritage Trust, Commonwealth of Australia.

Tate, G. H. H. 1952. Results of the Archbold Expeditions. No. 66. Mammals of Cape York Peninsula, with notes on the occurrence of rainforest in Queensland. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 98: 563-616.

Thomson, B., Pavey, C. and Reardon, T. 2001. Recovery plan for cave-dwelling bats, Rhinolophus philippinensis, Hipposideros semoni and Taphozous troughtoni 2001-2005. Department of Environment Australia, Canberra, Australia.

Woinarski, J.C.Z., Burbidge, A.A. and Harrison, P.L. 2014. Action Plan for Australian Mammals. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria.

Citation: Armstrong, K., Reardon, T., Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2017. Taphozous troughtoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T21466A22109564. . Downloaded on 21 July 2018.
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