New Bat Species Discovered In Minnesota In More Than A Century

Posted: Aug 2 2016, 12:37pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 2 2016, 12:41pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
New Bat Species Discovered in Minnesota in More Than a Century
Credit: Minnesota DNR

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The newfound bat species is evening bat and this species has not been spotted in Minnesota state before

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has discovered a new species of bat in the state. This is the first time that a new bat species has been found in Minnesota in more than 100 years.

DNA analysis confirmed it was indeed an evening bat or formally known as Nycticeius humeralis. The newfound species has not been seen in Minnesota before and is different from the existing ones both in terms of genetics and appearance.

Evening bat is a small bat that weighs around 7 to 15 grams and is distributed across North America from midwestern and eastern United States to northern Mexico. The mammal inhabits high elevation forests and has a reputation for slow and steady flight.

Finding a new mammal species in Minnesota itself is extremely rare, let alone finding a new bat species. The last time a new mammal species discovered in the state was a shrew or small mole-like animal which was spotted in 1991.

“It is very exciting to discover a new bat species in the state,” said DNR endangered species coordinator Rich Baker. “The evening bat’s historic range is limited to central Iowa. As our project proceeds, we’ll be keeping an eye out for more evening bats. For now, we don’t know if this was an isolated individual blown north in a storm, or if this species has indeed expanded its range into Minnesota.”

Before evening bat, a total of seven bat species reportedly existed in the region including the little brown bat, northern long-eared bat, big brown bat, silver-haired bat and hoary bat. Evening bat is the latest to join this elusive group.

The newly discovered bat was caught last month at a National Guard Site in Arden Hills and was later sent to national bat genetics lab in Arizona to confirm its taxonomy.

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