TECH

Researchers discover smallest species of bat in Mexico


Brazilian researchers from the federal universities of Viçosa (UFV) and Paraíba (UFPB), in collaboration with scientists from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Unam), discovered a species of bat in southwestern Mexico, called Vampyressa Villai.

The species, which resembles the Brazilian ones Vampyressa pusilla It is Vampyressa thyonehas yellow fur and weighs about eight grams, being the size of a hummingbird, measuring 50 millimeters, making it the smallest species of bat in the world.

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This new discovery is especially surprising since mammals are very well known and the discovery of new species is less common compared to fish and amphibians.

Smallest species of bat

  • The species Vampyressa Villai was initially identified as Vampyressa thyonediscovered in 1909;
  • But analyzes of DNA and skull and coat characteristics allowed researchers to differentiate the new species from others;
  • With this discovery, six species of the genus are now known. Vampyressa;
  • The region in which Vampyressa Villai is found is quite restricted, covering a range in western Mexico, including the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and possibly Veracruz;
  • As it is an area that has become a tourist destination in recent years, like the city of Acapulco, researchers highlight the importance of implementing conservation strategies to protect local biodiversity.

Challenges in Research

Abori highlights that, to describe the new species, researchers carried out extensive research in 15 museums around the world, including the American Museum of Natural History, in New York (USA), and the Natural History Museum, in London (England). ). However, due to the wide geographic distribution of species in the genus Vampyressait was challenging to put together a strategy for collecting animals in different territories.

Given this discovery, scientists now intend to investigate whether there are other “hidden” species within already described species and also explore the presence of the genus Vampyressa in areas of Brazil, collecting data on these animals.

The discovery reinforces Mexico as one of the countries with the greatest diversity of mammals in the world, consolidating it as an important biodiversity hotspot.

The discovery was published in Journal of Mammalogy.



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