Taphozous australis, Gould, 1854

Bonaccorso, Frank, 2019, Family Emballonuridae (Sheath-tailed Bats), Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Vol. 9, Lyny Edicions, pp. 350-373: 354

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Taphozous australis


11 View On . Coastal Sheath-tailed Bat

Taphozous australis  

French: Taphien de Gould I German: Küsten-Grabfledermaus I Spanish: Tafozo de Gould

Other common names: CoastalTomb Bat, Little Sheath-tailed Bat, North-eastern Sheath-tailed Bat Southern Sheath-tailed Bat

Taxonomy. Taphozous australis Gould, 1854   , “ maritime caves in the sandstone cliffs of Albany Island, Cape York [Peninsula] ,” Queensland, Australia.  

Taphozous australis   is in the subgenus Taphozous. Monotypic,

Distribution. Papua New Guinea (recorded only at the lower Strickland River in Western Province and Port Moresby in National Capital District) and NE coast of Australia from Cape York Peninsula to Keppel Bay,

also on Moa, Possession, and Albany Is in Torres Strait (possibly also on other islands in this area) and Magnetic I and other coastal islands of Queensland. It might have a larger distribution along S coast ofNew Guinea. View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head—body 78—90 mm, tail 20-29 mm, ear 22—26 mm, hindfoot 10— 14 mm, forearm 63-67 mm; weight 20-30-5 g. Individuals from Papua New Guinea are reportedly weight 20-26 g, but in Australia, adults are reportedly as large as 30-5 g, with larger body mass associated with fat deposition in colder winters of the central northeastern coast ofQueensland. Dorsum fur of the Coastal Sheath-tailed Bat appears grayish brown or gray, with both color morphs often found in a single colony; venter is slightly paler. Bases of hairs on dorsum and venter are white. Fur on underside of forearm is white. Throat pouch, opening to the anterior, is prominent in adult males and rudimentary in females. Radio-metacarpal sacs are present on both sexes. Triangular ear has blunt apex and is heavily pleated with serrations along posterior margin. Tragus   is broad, short, and slightly rounded at tip. Antitragus extends nearly to comer of mouth. Large, dark brown irises make eyes conspicuous. Flight membranes are dark brown. Bare parts of facial region, ears, tail, and forearms are brown to reddish brown. Trailing edges of uropatagium when extended are supported by stiff cartilaginous calcars. Skull rises sharply from nasal region to cranium. Weak sagittal crest is present on older individuals. Habitat. Coastal dune scrublands, coastal heathlands, open eucalypt forests, grasslands, monsoon forests, mangroves, and swamps with swamp paperbark ( Melaleuca ericifolia   , Myrtaceae   ), no more than a few kilometers inland, from sea level to elevations ofc.300 m. Food and Feeding. The Coastal Sheath-tail Bat is insectivorous and includes beetles in its diet. Large beetles are often carried to a night feeding roost or back to the day roost at the end of the night. Discarded insect parts can be found below either type of roost. While foraging, it flies fast and high above forest canopies but also descends closer to the ground in open areas.

Breeding. Pregnant Coastal Sheath-tail Bats can be found in September, and births of single young occur in October-November in Australia.

Activity patterns. Coastal Sheath-tail Bats are nocturnal and roost in sea caves, rocky areas, crevices, boulder piles, abandoned military bunkers, and old buildings. They emerge from day roosts well after dark. Echolocation call is flat to slightly sloped, and characteristic frequencies are 23—27 kHz. Its echolocation calls, however, are difficult to distinguish from Troughton’s Sheath-tailed Bat ( T. troughtoni   ) or Beccari’s Freetailed Bat ( Ozimops beccarii   ) where they co-occur.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. Most roosting groups ofCoastal Sheathtail Bats consist of less than ten individuals, but larger groups exceeding 100 individuals have been noted, particularly in older published accounts. In winter, Coastal Sheath-tailed Bats can cluster in groups of up to five individuals, but in wanner months, they maintain individual distances of up to 20 cm while roosting. Even in large caves, they roost in well-lit areas and remain alert and quickly take flight if approached too closely, moving to another roosting site or deeper into inaccessible parts of large caves. They can commute up to 15 km from roosts to nightly foraging areas. They have been observed flying between offshore island roosts to the mainland ofAustralia to forage. At the extreme southern end of its distribution near Rockhampton, Australia, they deposit fat in autumn and thereafter enter short bouts of torpor during coldest times of the year. Torpid individuals have cold body temperatures that require up to ten minutes or more ofwarming before they can fly. Status and Conservation. Classified as Near Threatened on The IUCNRed List. Nevertheless, the Coastal Sheath-tailed Bat almost qualified as Vulnerable in the most recent evaluation on The IUCNRed Listixcmse it is highly probable that less than 10,000 mature individuals exist, some recent population declines have been observed, and habitat loss might cause future declines. In Australia, it is potentially threatened by loss of foraging habitat from sand mining and coastal development and disturbance at roosting sites. It is protected in Cape Hillsborough National Park and several other coastal and offshore island protected areas in Australia. Recommended conservation actions include protection of key roosting sites and foraging habitat Additional field studies also are needed to better assess its distribution, abundance, ecology, and threats in Australia and Papua New Guinea. Bibliography. Bonaccorso (1998), Churchill (2008), Duncan eta/. (1999), Richards (2008b), Strahan (1995).














Taphozous australis

Bonaccorso, Frank 2019

Taphozous australis

Gould 1854