Scientists from ZSI discover New thick-thumbed bat species in bamboo forest in Meghalaya

Glischropus meghalayanus: A team of scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Shillong, and Natural History museums of Europe have discovered a new species of bamboo-dwelling bat in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya.

Key Points:

  • The discovery has been published in the latest issue of the prominent taxonomic journal Zootaxa on June 15.
  • This new species of thick-thumbed bat has been found near the forested patch of bamboo forest near Lailad in Ri-Bhoi district in Meghalaya, which is adjoining  Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It has been named Glischropus meghalayanus, where it was discovered and also in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the statehood of Meghalaya in 2022.
  • Previously, four species of thick-thumbed bats were known globally and all are distributed in the Southeast Asian region.
  • The present discovery is the first report of a thick-thumbed bat from India and also from South Asia.
  • Bamboo-dwelling bats are a particular kind of bats living in the internodes of bamboos with specialized morphological characteristics that help them to adapt to the life inside a bamboo.
  • With this new discovery, the total number of bat species known from India stands at 131 species with Meghalaya harbouring the highest bat diversity with 67 species.

About Glischropus meghalayanus:

  • Thick-thumbed bats of the genus Glischropus are currently composed of four recognized species from Southeast Asia.
  • The newly discovered species is small in size and has a dark brown colour with a sulfur yellow belly.
  • This bat has typical fleshy pads on the thumb and soles of feet which aid them to crawl over smooth surfaces of bamboo internodes.

Note: Scientists discovered another species of disk-footed bat, Eudiscopus denticulus, a new record for India, in the same forested regions outside the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary.

About Meghalaya:

  • It is a state in northeastern India. 
  • Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972.
  • It is one of the 7 sister states of North-East India.
  • Meghalaya means the "Abode of Clouds" in Sanskrit.
  • Shillong and Cherrapunjee are the highlights of Meghalaya for their weather and climatic conditions.
  • Its pristine beauty, perpetual clouds, mists, huge waterfalls, limestone caves, lush green and dense forests, and amazing living root bridges are major attractions of this state.
  • Meghalaya is not only the home to a large variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, and medicinal plants but is also famous for its large variety of orchids — nearly 325 of them.
  • Its capital is Shillong.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Meghalaya are Satya Pal Malik and Conrad Sangama respectively.