Coleura afra 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Emballonuridae

Scientific Name: Coleura afra (Peters, 1852)
Common Name(s):
English African Sheath-tailed Bat
Taxonomic Notes: The recently discovered population in Madagascar could prove to be a distinct species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-31
Assessor(s): Monadjem, A., Bergmans, W., Racey, P.A., Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M. & Cardiff, S.G.
Reviewer(s): Piraccini, R.
This bat is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The African sheath-tailed bat is found in much of east and eastern-central Africa, with an isolated record from central Mozambique. It is also found in west Africa, with records from Guinea and Guinea Bissau, northern Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and western Nigeria. There is also a small distribution in western Angola. This species was recently discovered in Madagascar (Goodman et al. 2005) and is known only from the Ankarana Special Reserve in the north of the island and the Namoroka National Park in the west.
Countries occurrence:
Angola; Benin; Central African Republic; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Madagascar; Mozambique; Nigeria; Somalia; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In the African portion of the African sheath-tailed bat's distribution, it roosts in large colonies (in the 1,000s of animals). The population and local abundance of this species in Madagascar is not known, but there is a minimum estimate of 500 individuals in one cave complex in Ankarana, Madagascar.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:On mainland Africa, the African sheath-tailed bat is found in well illuminated caves, rocky crevices and cellars of houses (Rosevear 1965). It preferentially roosts in caves along the sea and lake shores (Kingdon, 1974). In Nigeria, the African sheath-tailed bat is found in localised rocky habitats in southern Guinea savanna. Rosevear (1965) stated that they occur in woodland but only where there are acceptable roosting places. It is likely that other colonies occur in suitable rocky habitats in the southern Guinea savanna of western Nigeria. On Madagascar this bat taxon appears to be more varied in its habits, with some roost sites typically very dark and others quite close to the cave entrance. The two known sites on Madagascar are within dry deciduous tropical forest on a karst substrate (Goodman et al. 2005). Some authours suggests that the African sheath-tailed bat migrates (Happold 1987, Skinner and Smithers 1990).
Generation Length (years):2.16

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The threats to this species are not well understood. Disturbance of roost sites could potentially be a threat, but the effect of this on the population is not well known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: On the African continent, there are no species-specific conservation measures in place, but there are some protected areas within its range. Both of the known sites for this species in Madagascar are within protected areas (the Ankarana Special Reserve and Namoroka National Park).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
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
3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Dunlop, J. 1997. Coleura afra. Mammalian Species 566: 1-4.

Goodman, S.M., Andriafidison, D., Andrianaivoarivelo, R., Cardiff, S.G., Ifticene, E., Jenkins, R.K.B., Kofoky, A., Mbohoahy, T., Rakotondravony, D., Ranivo, J., Ratrimomanarivo, F., Razafimanahaka, J. and Racey, P.A. 2005. The distribution and conservation of bats in the dry regions of Madagascar. Animal Conservation 8: 153-165.

Happold, D.C.D. 1987. The Mammals of Nigeria. Oxford University Press, London, UK.

Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK.

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

Kingdon, J. 1974. East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa. Academic Press, London, USA.

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Rosevear, D. R. 1965. The Bats of West Africa. British Museum, London, UK.

Skinner, J.D. and Chimimba, C.T. (eds). 2005. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, Cambridge.

Weber, N. and Fahr, J. 2007. Survey of endemic and globally threatened bat species in the Fouta Djallon Highlands for conservation priorities in Guinea. Van Tienhoven Foundation for International Nature Protection and Conservation International's Critical Species Fund, Ulm University .

Citation: Monadjem, A., Bergmans, W., Racey, P.A., Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M. & Cardiff, S.G. 2017. Coleura afra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T5113A22089365. . Downloaded on 24 May 2018.
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