Bumblebee Bat
Overview
 
Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat also known as the bumblebee bat, is a vulnerable species
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

 of bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

 and the only extant member of the family Craseonycteridae. It occurs in western Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 and southeast Burma, where it occupies limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 caves along rivers.

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat is the smallest species of bat and arguably the world's smallest mammal. It has a reddish-brown or grey coat, with a distinctive pig-like snout.
Encyclopedia
Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat also known as the bumblebee bat, is a vulnerable species
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

 of bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

 and the only extant member of the family Craseonycteridae. It occurs in western Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 and southeast Burma, where it occupies limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 caves along rivers.

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat is the smallest species of bat and arguably the world's smallest mammal. It has a reddish-brown or grey coat, with a distinctive pig-like snout. Colonies range greatly in size, with an average of 100 individuals per cave. The bat feeds during short activity periods in the evening and dawn, foraging around nearby forest areas for insects. Females give birth annually to a single offspring.

Although the bat's status in Burma is not well known, the Thai population is restricted to a single province and may be at risk for extinction. Its potential threats are primarily anthropogenic, and include habitat degradation and the disturbance of roosting sites.

Description

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat is about abbr=on 29 in length and abbr=on 2 in mass, hence the common name of "bumblebee
Bumblebee
A bumble bee is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. There are over 250 known species, existing primarily in the Northern Hemisphere although they are common in New Zealand and in the Australian state of Tasmania.Bumble bees are social insects that are characterised by black...

 bat". It is the smallest species of bat and may be the world's smallest mammal, depending on how size is defined. The main competitors for the title are small shrew
Shrew
A shrew or shrew mouse is a small molelike mammal classified in the order Soricomorpha. True shrews are also not to be confused with West Indies shrews, treeshrews, otter shrews, or elephant shrews, which belong to different families or orders.Although its external appearance is generally that of...

s; in particular, the Etruscan shrew may be lighter at abbr=on 1.2 but is longer, measuring abbr=on 36 from its head to the base of the tail.

The bat has a distinctive swollen, pig-like snout with thin, vertical nostrils. Its ears are relatively large, while its eyes are small and mostly concealed by fur. Its teeth are typical of an insectivorous
Insectivore
An insectivore is a type of carnivore with a diet that consists chiefly of insects and similar small creatures. An alternate term is entomophage, which also refers to the human practice of eating insects....

 bat. The dental formula
Dentition
Dentition pertains to the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth. In particular, the characteristic arrangement, kind, and number of teeth in a given species at a given age...

 is 1:1:1:3 in the upper jaw and 2:1:2:3 in the lower jaw, with large upper incisors.

The bat's upperparts are reddish-brown or grey, while the underside is generally paler. The wings are relatively large and darker in colour, with long tips that allow the bat to hover. Despite having two caudal vertebrae, Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat has no visible tail. There is a large web of skin between the hind legs (the uropatagium
Patagium
*In bats, the skin forming the surface of the wing. It is an extension of the skin of the abdomen that runs to the tip of each digit, uniting the forelimb with the body.*The patagium of a bat has four distinct parts:...

) which may assist in flying and catching insects, although there are no tail bones or calcar
Calcar
The calcar, also known as the calcaneum , is the name given to a spur of cartilage arising from inner side of ankle and running along part of outer interfemoral membrane in bats , this is to help spread the interfemoral membrane , which is part of the wing membrane between the tail and the hind...

s to help control it in flight.

Range and distribution

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat occupies the limestone caves along rivers, within dry evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 or deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 forests. In Thailand, Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat is restricted to a small region of Kanchanaburi Province
Kanchanaburi Province
- History :Archaeology found in Kanchanaburi dates back to the 4th century which proves of trade with surrounding countries even in that time. Very little is also historically known about the actual Khmer influence in Kanchanaburi but there is evidence of their occupation with Prasat Muang Singh –...

, within the drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 of the Khwae Noi River. While the Sai Yok National Park contains much of the bat's range, some Thai populations occur outside the park and are therefore unprotected.

Since the 2001 discovery of a single individual in Burma, at least nine separate sites have been identified in the limestone outcrops outside the Thanlwin
Salween River
The Salween is a river, about long, that flows from the Tibetan Plateau into the Andaman Sea in Southeast Asia. It drains a narrow and mountainous watershed of that extends into the countries China, Burma and Thailand. Steep canyon walls line the swift, powerful and undammed Salween, one of the...

, Ataran
Ataran River
-See also:*List of rivers of Burma...

, and Gyaing River
Gyaing River
Gyaing River) is a river of Kayin State and Mon State, in southeastern Burma . Its two major tributaries, the Hlaingbwe River and the Haungtharaw River, flow together to form the Gyaing at . It is about 45 miles long and flows into the Salween River immediately above Moulmein, at .The Gyaing is a...

s of Kayin
Kayin State
Kayin State is a state of Burma . The capital city is Hpa-an.-History:The region that forms today's Kayin State was part of successive Burmese kingdoms since the formation of the Pagan Empire in mid-11th century...

 and Mon State
Mon State
Mon State is an administrative division of Myanmar. It is sandwiched between Kayin State on the east, the Andaman Sea on the west, Bago Region on the north and Tanintharyi Region on the south, and has a short border with Thailand's Kanchanaburi Province at its south-eastern tip. The land area is...

s. The Thai and Burmese populations are morphologically
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 identical, but their echolocation
Animal echolocation
Echolocation, also called biosonar, is the biological sonar used by several kinds of animals.Echolocating animals emit calls out to the environment and listen to the echoes of those calls that return from various objects near them. They use these echoes to locate and identify the objects...

 calls are distinct. It is not known whether the two populations are reproductively isolated
Reproductive isolation
The mechanisms of reproductive isolation or hybridization barriers are a collection of mechanisms, behaviors and physiological processes that prevent the members of two different species that cross or mate from producing offspring, or which ensure that any offspring that may be produced is not...

.

Behavior

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat roosts in the caves of limestone hills, far from the entrance. While many caves contain only 10 to 15 individuals, the average group size is 100, with a maximum of about 500. Individuals roost high on walls or roof domes, far apart from each other. Bats also undertake seasonal migration between caves.

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat has a brief activity period, leaving its roost for only 30 minutes in the evening and 20 minutes at dawn. These short flights are easily interrupted by heavy rain or cold temperatures. During this period, the bat forages within fields of cassava
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

 and kapok
Kapok
Ceiba pentandra is a tropical tree of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae , native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and to tropical west Africa...

 or around the tops of bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 clumps and teak
Teak
Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the...

 trees, within one kilometre of the roosting site. The wings seem to be shaped for hovering flight, and the gut contents of specimens include spiders and insects that are presumably gleaned off foliage. Nevertheless, most prey is probably caught in flight. Main staples of the bat's diet include small flies
Fly
True flies are insects of the order Diptera . They possess a pair of wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax...

 (Chloropidae
Chloropidae
Chloropidae is a family of flies commonly known as frit flies or grass flies. There are approximately 2000 described species in over 160 genera distributed worldwide. These are usually very small flies, yellow or black and appearing shiny due to the virtual absence of any hairs. The majority of the...

, Agromyzidae
Agromyzidae
The family Agromyzidae is commonly referred to as the leaf-miner flies, for the feeding habit of larvae, most of which are leaf miners on various plants....

, and Anthomyiidae
Anthomyiidae
Anthomyiidae is a large and diverse family of Muscoidea flies. Name came from Greek "anthos" + "myia" . Some species are commonly called "root-maggots", as the larvae are found in the stems and roots of various plants...

), hymenoptera
Hymenoptera
Hymenoptera is one of the largest orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees and ants. There are over 130,000 recognized species, with many more remaining to be described. The name refers to the heavy wings of the insects, and is derived from the Ancient Greek ὑμήν : membrane and...

ns, and psocoptera
Psocoptera
Psocoptera are an order of insects that are commonly known as booklice, barklice or barkflies. They first appeared in the Permian period, 295–248 million years ago. They are often regarded as the most primitive of the hemipteroids. Their name originates from the Greek word psokos meaning...

ns.

Late in the dry season (around April) of each year, females give birth to a single offspring. During feeding periods, the young either stays in the roost or remains attached to the mother at one of her two vestigial pubic nipples.

Taxonomy

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat is the only extant species in the family Craseonycteridae, which is grouped in the superfamily Rhinolophoidea as a result of molecular testing. Based on this determination, the bat's closest relatives are members of the families Hipposideridae and Rhinopomatidae
Rhinopomatidae
Mouse-tailed bats are a group of insectivorous bats of the family Rhinopomatidae with only three to five species, all contained in the single genus Rhinopoma. They are found in the Old World, from North Africa to Thailand and Sumatra, in arid and semi-arid regions, roosting in caves, houses and...

.

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat was unknown to the world at large prior to 1974. Its common name refers to its discoverer, Thai zoologist Kitti Thonglongya
Kitti Thonglongya
Kitti Thonglongya was an eminent Thai ornithologist and mammalogist. He is probably best known for two discoveries of endangered species.-Life:...

. Thonglongya worked with a British partner, John E. Hill, in classifying bats of Thailand; after Thonglongya died suddenly in February 1974, Hill formally described the species, giving it the binomial name Craseonycteris thonglongyai in honour of his colleague.

Conservation

As of the species' most recent review in 2008, Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat is listed by the IUCN
World Conservation Union
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is an international organization dedicated to finding "pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges." The organization publishes the IUCN Red List, compiling information from a network of...

 as vulnerable
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

, with a downward population trend.

Soon after the bat's discovery in the 1970s, some roosting sites became disturbed as a result of tourism, scientific collection, and even the collection and sale of individuals as souvenirs. However, these pressures may not have had a significant effect on the species as a whole, since many small colonies exist in hard-to-access locations, and only a few major caves were disturbed. Another potential risk is the activity of local monks, who have occupied roost caves during periods of meditation.

Currently, the most significant and long-term threat to the Thai population could be the annual burning of forest areas, which is most prevalent during the bat's breeding season. In addition, the proposed construction of a pipeline from Burma to Thailand may have a negative impact. Threats to the Burmese population are not well known.

In 2007, Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat was identified by the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered
EDGE Species
Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species represent a disproportionate amount of unique evolutionary history. They have few close relatives and are often extremely unusual in the way they look, live and behave...

(EDGE) project as one of its Top 10 "focal species".

External links

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