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Yanbaru Whiskered Bat

East Asia

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Myotis yanbarensis

Endangered

  • Habitat loss
  • Inability to adapt to a different environment

The Yanbaru Whiskered Bat is a type of vesper bat that is endemic to Japan. This flying bat species from the Vespertilionidae family can only be found on three islands within the Ryukyu Archipelago where its namesake forest is located.

This tree-dwelling silky-furred bat was first caught and described by Kyoto University doctoral student Jason Preble in 1996. It has black-hued flight membranes and ears. Its dorsal hair is also black in colour while its guard hairs are silver-tipped. It has long and horizontal snout but its braincase is small relative to its skull. Its uropatagium or the membrane connecting the thighs and tail attaches to the first toe. Also called interfemoral membrane, this is the reason why the Yanbaru Whiskered Bat can glide fast.

Rapid deforestation due to infrastructure development around the area is the main cause for its decline in number. Because of its high sensitivity to noise pollution and its preference to stay within a restricted habitat range, it is feared to be locally extinct.