New Guinea Big-eared Bat
(Pharotis imogene)

This small dark brown bat was known only from the 45 original specimens collected in 1890. In 2012 an individual was captured during a fauna survey of the Abau District. 

Urgent Conservation Actions

Surveys to determine population size, range, status and ecology.

Papua New Guinea.
Associated Blog Posts
11th Jun 14
Last month a research team from the University of Queensland rediscovered the New Guinea big-eared bat (Pharotis Imogene), EDGE Mammal #32, a species that ha...  Read

Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
The family Vespertilionidae is the second largest mammalian family, after the Muridae (Old world rats and mice). It contains 407 species in 49 genera, found throughout the world, except for extreme polar regions and remote islands. The family dates back to the middle Eocene (46 million years ago). The subfamily Nyctophilinae (big-eared bats) is represented in New Guinea by five species placed in two genera: Nyctophilus (represented by four species) and the endemic Pharotis (one species).
Head and body length: 47-50 mm
Tail length: 42-43 mm
Forearm length: 37.5-38.6 mm
Weight: Unknown

Its disproportionately large ears are joined at the base. Individuals have a short snout with a complex horseshoe-shaped nose leaf.

Little is known of the ecology of this species. Related species in the genus Nyctophilus spend the daytime sleeping in small caverns, crevices in rocks, tree hollows and under the bark of trees. They appear to be active throughout the year. The collection of such a large number of specimens on a single occasion suggests that a roost, probably a maternity colony, was found. Species of Nyctophilus do not normally roost in such large numbers. The morphology of the species’ ears, skull and teeth, and the known behaviour of related species, suggest that this big-eared bat gleans insects such as beetles from the leaves of plants.
Lowland sclerophyll woodlands. It is not known whether these bats roost in trees or caves.
Known only from Kamali, Central Province, southeastern Papua New Guinea.
Population Estimate


Population Trend

Critically Endangered 


The threats to this species are unknown. The region is experiencing high population growth leading to large scale habitat destruction and degradation.

Conservation Underway

There are no conservation measures in place for this species.

Conservation Proposed

The recent 'rediscovery' of the species has confimed that the species still persists in the region. It is highly important to carry out surveys in the area to develop a stronger understanding of the species' biology, range and population.


Bonaccorso, F. J. 1998. Bats of Papua New Guinea. Conservation International. Washington, DC.

Chiroptera Specialist Group. 1996. Pharotis imogene. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 09 August 2006.

Hughes et al., 2014. Rec. Aust. Mus. 66(4): 225–232 - See more at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/journal/Hughes-2014-Rec-Aust-Mus-664-225232#sthash.ucWTpwP5.dpuf

MacPhee, R.D.E. and Flemming, C. 1999. Requiem Æternam. The last five hundred years of mammalian species extinctions. In: R.D.E. MacPhee (ed.). Extinctions in Near Time. Pp.333-371. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.

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

Wild World, WWF Full Report: Southeastern Papuan Rainforests

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

if you can provide new information to update this species account or to correct any errors, please email us at info@edgeofexistence.org

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