Natal free-tailed bat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Natal free-tailed bat
Mormopterus acetabulosus type illustration.jpg
Type illustration by Paul Jossigny from 1770
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Molossidae
Genus: Mormopterus
Subgenus: Mormopterus
M. acetabulosus
Binomial name
Mormopterus acetabulosus
Hermann, 1804
  • Vespertilio acetabulosus Hermann, 1804

The Natal free-tailed bat (Mormopterus acetabulosus) is a species of bat in the family Molossidae, the free-tailed bats. It is native to the islands of Mauritius and Réunion, it is known from fewer than five locations in its range, but it is common at a few sites. It roosts in caves, and it is considered to be an endangered species due to disturbance of its cave habitat.[1]

Taxonomy and etymology[edit]

It was described as a new species in 1804 by French naturalist Johann Hermann. Hermann placed it in the genus Vespertilio.[2] In 2008, the Natal free-tailed bat was split into two taxa with the description of a new species, Mormopterus francoismoutoui; the species is called the "Natal" free-tailed bat because of another species Hermann described, Dysopes natalensis, named after the Natal Province of South Africa. Dysopes natalensis was later synonymized with the Natal free-tailed bat,[3] its species name "acetabulosus" is Latin for saucer-shaped.[4]


The Natal free-tailed bat is a very small species of bat, its upper lip is very wrinkled. Its ears are small and connected in the back by a thin interaural membrane. Males have a sebaceous gland, as with some other free-tailed bats, but they do not have an interaural crest, its dental formula is for a total of 30 teeth.[2]

Range and habitat[edit]

It is endemic to Mauritius. There is one "doubtful" record from Madagascar and two records from South Africa which may be vagrants.[1]


As of 2017, it is listed as endangered by the IUCN. From 1999–2017, its population likely declined by more than 80%, its caves are being disturbed for tourism.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Bergmans, W.; Hutson, A.M.; Oleksy, R.; Taylor, F. (2017). "Mormopterus acetabulosus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T71733227A22085232.
  2. ^ a b Kingdon, J.; Happold, D.; Butynski, T.; Hoffmann, M.; Happold, M.; Kalina, J. (2013). Mammals of Africa. 4. A&C Black. p. 473–474. ISBN 9781408189962.
  3. ^ Goodman, S. M; Van Vuuren, B. Jansen; Ratrimomanarivo, F; Probst, J-M; Bowie, R. C K (2008). "Specific status of populations in the Mascarene Islands referred to Mormopterus acetabulosus (Chiroptera: Molossidae), with description of a new species". Journal of Mammalogy. 89 (5): 1316–1327. doi:10.1644/07-MAMM-A-232.1.
  4. ^ Gledhill, D. (2008). The names of plants. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 0521866456.