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31. Seychelles Sheath-tailed Bat

Coleura seychellensis


This bat belongs to an ancient family of sheath-tailed bats, so called because of the nature of the membrane which stretches between the hind legs.

By adjusting the hind legs in flight, this membrane can be lengthened or shortened as it slips over the tail, increasingly manoeuvrability in flight. There are only two species in its genus Coleura, and there are 13 modern genera and 51 species within its family Emballonuridae. It was previously common on the Seychelles Islands, though it has undergone a severe population decline over the past 30 years. Less than one hundred bats are believed to survive today, in just two locations. The major threat they face is the clearance of their lowland forest habitat for plantations. In the intensively managed plantations, there is no shrub layer to support the invertebrate diet of the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat. Furthermore, the mosaic of forests and differing plantations has fragmented the remaining populations. The invasive Kudzu vine also poses a threat; as it may overgrow roost cave entrances, or change the temperature gradient within caves; disturbing their roosting behaviour. They also face predation from the invasive species of barn owl, and feral cats. Conservation programmes require support in order to ensure that this species has a future.

  • Order: Chiroptera
  • Family: Emballonuridae
  • Population: <100
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 55-65mm
  • Weight: 10.2-11g

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.68 (?)
ED Score: 17.33 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Endemic to the Seychelles Islands, this species is known only rom the island of Silhouette and the west coast of Mahé.

Habitat and Ecology

This species’ inhabit coasts areas, where they roost in boulder caves and foraging in coastal woodland for insects. Females give birth to a single offspring during the rainy season (November-December) and sometimes in March-April.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Urban development Tourism Extreme temperatures Roads/Rail Utility lines Work Invasive species Garbage Air pollution

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at:

Targeting the Seychelles ‘EDGE-zone’

  • Locations: Seychelles
  • Active dates: 2012 - 2015
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Diana Renaud

  • Project name: Effective long term conservation of the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat
  • Project site: Mahé, Praslin and Silhouette islands, Republic of Seychelles
  • Active: 2014 - 2016
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