A group of researchers found a fuzzy orange bat species in the caves and mining tunnels of the Nimba Mountains in Guinea, West Africa. The newly described species has been named 'Myotis nimbaensis', in honor of its home mountains, described as “African sky islands”. The bats are believed to be critically endangered. Bat Conservation International and local mining company Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée are working to reinforce the tunnels and caves so that the bats will have a safe home in the mountain.

The researchers were looking for Lamotte’s roundleaf bat —a critically endangered species that is only known to live in the Nimba Mountains—in 2018 when they came across an unfamiliar bat. The orange and black bat didn’t resemble Lamotte’s roundleaf bat, nor did it look like any of the other known species in the area. Unsure what species of bat they had caught, the researchers analyzed the bat’s morphological, molecular, and echolocation data, learning it was unlike any bat previously described.

As the scientists work to learn more about the new species and its habitat, range, diet, behavior, and more, their work highlights the importance of preserving these unique “sky islands” which are crucial for biodiversity.

More Info: www.batcon.org