Vietnamese Leaf-nosed Bat, Vietnam Leaf-nosed Bat
(Paracoelops megalotis)
This bat species is known from a single specimen. It is characterised by its exceptionally large ears, which are separate and rounded at the top. The only specimen was collected from a very small area of forest which is now being cleared, and the species has not been reported since its description more than 60 years ago. Many researchers fear that this little bat may now be extinct.
Urgent Conservation Actions
Surveys to discover whether the species still exists, followed by appropriate conservation action if needed.
Vietnam. Possibly also Laos and Cambodia.
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Hipposideridae
Horseshoe and Old World leaf bats are clearly closely related, and are usually placed together in a single family, the Rhinolophidae. Within this family they are separated into two subfamilies: the Hipposiderinae (horseshoe bats) and Rhinolophinae (Old World leaf-nosed bats). The Vietnam leaf-nosed bat belongs to the Hipposiderinae, which includes 81 species in nine genera (Hipposideros, Rhinonycteris, Coelops, Paracoelops, Triaenops, Cloeotis, Anthopx, Asellia, and Aselliscus). Some researchers argue that the horseshoe bats are sufficiently distinct from the Old World leaf-nosed bats to be placed in a completely separate family: the Hipposideridae. Either way, horseshoe bats are though to date back to at least the middle Eocene (some 45 million years ago). The Vietnam leaf-nosed bat is the sole representative of the genus Paracoelops. The fossil record of bats is very poor, and there are no fossils of Paracoelops. It is believed to be most closely related to the Asian genus Coelops, the African Cloeotis and the extinct Australian Archerops. Newly discovered fossils from the latter genus are estimated to be between 15 and 20 million years old.
Body length: 45 mm
Forearm length: 42 mm
Ear length: 30 mm
Weight: 7 g
This bat's ears are exceptionally large, and separate and rounded at the top. The muzzle has an elaborate leaf-like outgrowth of skin, which is thought to serve some sensory function. The top of the head is bright golden-yellow, and the ears are pale brown. The underparts are light beige.
Nothing is known about the ecology of this species as it has never been studied. Like other small bats it is probably nocturnal, and catches insects in flight using echolocation, which involves ultrasonic sounds being emitted through the mouth or nose.
Other leaf-nosed bats inhabit forests and woodlands. Aquatic habitats are favoured as feeding areas as they attract a wide variety of insects.
Vietnam. Possibly also Laos and Cambodia.
Population Estimate
Unknown. Possibly extinct.
Population Trend
Classified as Critically Endangered (CR B1+2c) on the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The species is known only from a very small area of declining habitat. It has not been reported since its description more than 60 years ago, and many researchers fear that it may now be extinct.
Conservation Underway
There do not appear to be any conservation measures in place.
Conservation Proposed
Surveys to discover whether the species still exists.
Chiroptera Specialist Group 1996. Paracoelops megalotis. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 19 July 2006.

Hutson, A. M., Mickleburgh, S. P. and Racey, P. A. (Compilers). 2001. Microchiropteran Bats: Global Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Chiroptera Specialist Group. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.

Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker’s Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Watson, J. Dec 2005. (pers. comm.).

Distribution map based on data provided by the IUCN Global Mammal Assessment.

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