Golden bat in Bolivia classified as a new species

The bat's distinctive golden fur set it apart from other South American bats

Scientists have classified a Bolivian bat as a new species, and taken inspiration from its short, woolly golden-yellow fur to name it after King Midas.

The bat was previously identified as a Myotis simus – a type of mouse-eared bat which lives in South America.

Scientists have now re-named it Myotis midastactus, after King Midas and his golden touch. After examining 27 bat specimens in museums in the US and Brazil, experts realised that the creature, which lives in the Bolivian Savannah, was an entirely different species.

In addition, scientists from Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, US, suggested that the Myotis simus does not live in Bolivia, but is found in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru - further separating the two species.

In an study published in the 'Journal of Mammalogy', scientists describe how differences in the golden animal’s fur colour, as well as differences to its cranium “unquestionably distinguish” the bat from all other neotropical Myotis.

Like other bats, it survives on small insects, and roosts during the day in holes in the ground, hollow trees and under thatched roofs.

Greater mouse-eared bats, or Myotis myotis - family members of the newly-specified Myotis midastactus (Getty) Greater mouse-eared bats, or Myotis myotis - family members of the newly-specified Myotis midastactus (Getty)
Read more: Revealed - the secrets of how horses communicate
Mega penguin’s tallest and heaviest ever to walk the Earth
Scientists create transparent mouse
Octopus keeps record four and a half year vigil over her eggs

The findings followed a 2011 paper by Dr Ricardo Moratelli of the Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz, who took part in the newly published study.

Dr Moratelli had suggested that bats from Bolivia were different to others inhabiting the Amazonian basin.

He admitted to BBC News that the team had attempted to analyse living bats rather than museum species, but after two months they were still unable to locate a golden bat.

He added: "I can confidently say that many new species from different zoological groups are in museum cabinets around the world, awaiting recognition and formal description.

"Discovering new species is the most exciting part of my research, and in some cases describing a new species can be the first step to preserve others."

Myotis midastactus is currently the fifth new species of bat that Dr Moratelli has classified, in addition to the small Myotis diminutus found in the Ecuadorian Andes; Myotis lavali from north-eastern Brazil, Myotis izecksohni found in Atlantic forest in southern Brazil, and Myotis handleyi from the mountains of northern Venezuela.

These discoveries are part of a larger project which aims to find out more about mouse-eared bats living in the neotropical ecozone.

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said The outstandin...

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a Learning Support A...

KS2 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We have a key stage 2 clas...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past