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New Zealand greater short-tailed bat

Mystacina robusta


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

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 3.45 (?)
ED Score: 12.62 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


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.

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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).

Invasive species

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.
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