Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia


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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024










Bats of Southeast Asia  

Conservation links:

IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group
SE Asia Bat Conservation Research Unit
Bat Conservation International



Globally bats (Order : Chiroptera) comprise around 20% of all mammal species, but this percentage rises in Southeast Asia where bats may comprise around 40% of all mammals.  They play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal yet remain amongst the least studied of the regions mammals.

Included here are examples of the huge flying foxes which can weigh over 1 kg and have wingspans of almost 1.5 metres, and the tiny microbats weighing just a few grams. Larger bats are generally frugivorous (fruit-eating), while smaller species tend to be insectivorous.


Flying Foxes  (Pteropodidae, Pteropodinae)
5 genera, 3 of which occur in SE Asia: 
Acerodon:  5 species (all in SE Asia).  Pteropus: ~65 species (~25 occur in SE Asia).  Styloctenium:  2 species (both in SE Asia).  Examples:

Golden-crowned Flying Fox
Acerodon jubatus   
  Sunda Flying Fox
Acerodon mackloti   
Black Flying Fox
Pteropus alecto 
Island Flying Fox
Pteropus hypomelanus 
Lyle's Flying Fox
Pteropus lylei 
Large Flying Fox
Pteropus vampyrus 

Fruit Bats  (Pteropodidae, Cynopterinae)
14 genera and ~30 species, most of which occur in SE Asia.  Examples:

Spotted-winged Fruit Bat
Balionycteris maculata
  Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat
Cynopterus brachyotis  
  Horsfield's Fruit Bat
Cynopterus horsfieldii
Forest Short-nosed Fruit Bat  Cynopterus minutus  
Dusky Fruit Bat 
Penthetor lucasi

Dawn Fruit Bats and Rousettes  (Pteropodidae, Rousettinae)
2 genera: Eonycteris (3 species, all occur in SE Asia). Rousettus (10 species, 6 of  which occur in SE Asia).  Examples:

Cave Nectar Bat
Eonycteris spelaea   
Rousettus spp. 

Tube-nosed Fruit Bats 
Nyctimene spp.  19 species (13 in SE Asia).   Examples:

Long-tongued Nectar Bats 
Macroglossus spp.: 2 species (both of  which occur in SE Asia).  Examples:

Tube-nosed Fruit Bats
Nyctimene & Paranyctimene spp.
  Lesser Long-tongued Nectar Bat
Macroglossus minimus  

Sheath-tailed Bats  (Emballonuridae)
More than 55 species worldwide.  Around 13 species in SE Asia from the genera Emballonura, Mosia, Saccolaimus and Taphozous.  Examples:

Lesser Sheath-tailed Bat
Emballonura monticola  
  Pouched Tomb Bat
Saccolaimus saccolaimus
  Long-winged Tomb Bat
Taphozous longimanus
  Black-bearded Tomb Bat
Taphozous melanopogon
  Theobald's Tomb Bat
Taphozous theobaldi

False Vampires  (Megadermatidae)
Worldwide 6 species, of which 3 are in SE Asia.  Examples:

Slit-faced Bats  (Nycteridae)
Worldwide >15 species, of which 2 occur in SE Asia.  Examples:

Lesser False Vampire
Megaderma spasma   
        Malayan Slit-faced Bat
Nycteris tragata 

Horseshoe Bats  (Rhinolophidae)
Worldwide more than 100 species in the single genus Rhinolophus, with numerous species in SE Asia.  Examples:

Creagh's Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus creaghi
  Great Woolly Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus luctus morio   
Glossy Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus refulgens
Lesser Woolly Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus sedulus   
Lesser Brown Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus stheno 
Trefoil Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus trifoliatus   

Roundleaf Bats  (Hipposideridae)
Worldwide there are more than 70 species in 7 genera. In SE Asia there are numerous species in the genus Hipposideros, and 6 others in the genera Ascelliscus, Coelops and Paracoelops.  Examples:

Great Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros armiger
  Bicoloured Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros bicolor
Fawn Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros cervinus
  Ashy Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros cineraceus
Diadem Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros diadema
Intermediate Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros larvatus 

Hog-nosed Bats  (Craseonycteridae)
Just 1 species known, which only occurs in Myanmar and Thailand.

Bent-winged Bats  (Miniopteridae)
As of 2022, around 40 species worldwide in a single genus, Miniopterus. At least 10 species are known to occur in SE Asia.

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat
Craseonycteris thonglongyai   
      Bent-winged Bats
Miniopterus spp. 

Evening Bats  (Vespertilionidae)
Worldwide there are more than 300 species in more than 50 genera. In SE Asia numerous species occur, particularly in the genera Kerivoula, Murina, Myotis and Pipistrellus.  Examples:

Woolly Bats
Kerivoula spp.
  Tube-nosed Bats
Murina spp.
  Whiskered Myotis
Myotis muricola
  Ridley's Myotis
Myotis ridleyi   
Large-footed Myotis
Myotis spp.   
Pipistrellus spp.    
  Asiatic Lesser Yellow Bat
Scotophilus kuhlii
  Bamboo Bats
Tylonycteris spp.

Free-tailed Bats  (Molossidae)
Worldwide there are more than 110 species in 18 genera. In SE Asia, as of 2020,  there are 14 representatives of 6 genera including Chaerephon (4), Cheiromeles (2), Mormopterus (1), Mops (2), Otomops (3) and Tadarida (2).  Examples:

Naked Bulldog Bat
Cheiromeles torquatus