New long-fingered bat species discovered in India, Sri Lanka

Miniopterus Phillipsi: In a breakthrough discovery, a team of international researchers have recently discovered a new species of Bat has been discovered in India and Sri Lanka.

Key Points:

  • The recently discovered species of bat have a distinct physical characteristic including long fingers as compared to other species.
  • The team led by Tharaka Kusuminda of University of Rohana used DNA barcoded specimens to identify the New long-fingered bat species.
  • It has been named Miniopterus Phillipsi after W W A Philips (1892-1981), for his contributions to studies on the mammals of Sri Lanka and South Asia.
  • The specimens for this species were collected from Idulgashinna cave in Uva Province in Sri Lanka and are now deposited in the Natural History Museum of the neighbouring country.
  • The discovery has been published in Acta Chiropterologica, an international scientific journal under the title 'DNA Barcoding and Morphological Analyses Reveal a Cryptic Species of Miniopterus from India and Sri Lanka.'
  • The newly discovered bat species is part of the larger Miniopteridae family which consists of at least 40 species worldwide.


  • The initial research was carried out in Sri Lanka in 2019.
  • It took three years to be completed in both Sri Lanka and India.
  • During investigations, researchers found that the population of long-fingered bats in Robber's cave in Mahabaleshwar in the Western Ghats of India also belongs to this species which was earlier mistaken as Eastern bent-winged bats.

Physical Characteristics and Features:

  • The long-fingered bats belonging to the family Miniopteridae are part of a large group comprising at least 40 species worldwide.
  • They have similar morphology and overlapping dimensions rendering species identification problematic.

Researchers DNA barcoded the specimens from India and Sri Lanka and compared them with all other Asian members of this group and found conclusive distinction among them. 

Strong evidence pointed towards the specimens to be belonging to a distinct species, the scientist said.

Besides, researchers also analysed the morphological and anatomical features of the new species with the congeners occurring in India and Sri Lanka and found that the new species is indeed distinct.

Earlier discovery:

  • A team of scientists had recently discovered a new species of thick-thumbed bat from a bamboo forest in Meghalaya and named it after the state.
  • The discovery of Glischropus meghalayanus was published in Zootaxa, a prominent taxonomic journal.