Science Blast! A Bat, Am I?

Yoda gets his own bat:

The happy tube-nosed fruit bat (Nyctimene wrightae): female with young pup attached, showing characteristic long ears with thickened edge and short, brown hair. Image credit: Debra Wright.The happy tube-nosed fruit bat (Nyctimene wrightae): female with young pup attached, showing characteristic long ears with thickened edge and short, brown hair.
Image credit: Debra Wright.

Yoda Bat’ from Papua New Guinea Gets Official Name

The newfound species belongs to Nyctimeninae (tube-nosed fruit bats), a distinctive subfamily of Pteropodidae, currently represented by 18 species and two genera, Nyctimene (16 species) and Paranyctimene (2 species).

The subfamily is distributed throughout the rainforests of Wallacea (including the Philippines), New Guinea and its islands, to southeastern Australia and the Solomon Islands.

Nyctimeninae were one of the first bat species described in records dating back to 1769, and later in 1860 Alfred Russel Wallace — British naturalist and one of the fathers of evolution — collected two further species.

The bats’ tube noses, bright colors, thick stripe on the back and spots have attracted attention for some 250 years, but biologists are still finding new hidden species in the group.

“The happy tube-nosed fruit bat is very difficult to tell apart from other tube-nosed bat species,” said Dr. Nancy Irwin, a researcher at the University of York, UK, and author of a paper published in the Records of the Australian Museum.

“Bat species often look similar to each other, but differ significantly in behavior, feeding and history.”

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