The New Zealand greater short-tailed bat is the largest of New Zealand’s three remaining bat species. It remains enigmatic; with no confirmed sightings of the species since 1967.
They are in the family Mystacinidae, which contains only one genus, Mystacinidae, with only one other species; the lesser short-tailed bat. Like its only close relative, the lesser short-tailed bat, it spends an unusually large proportion of its time on the ground, making it vulnerable to introduced predators such as rats. It disappeared from New Zealand’s North and South islands following European arrival some 200 years ago. It was then restricted to small predator-free islands such as Big South Cape and Solomon Islands until rats were accidentally introduced in 1963.
- Order: Chiroptera
- Family: Mystacinidae
- Population: <50
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 90mm
Endemic to New Zealand, formerly found throughout the North and South Islands prior to European colonisation. There have been no confirmed sightings since 1967, though its last recorded populations were found on Big South Cape Island, and other small islands near Stewart Island.
Habitat and Ecology
Very little is known about the New Zealand greater short-tailed bats’ habitat preferences and ecology. They likely roosted in limestone caves, and it may have also roosted in tree cavities. They are thought to feed on invertebrates in the air, and in the leaf litter, but also pollen, nectar and fruit.