Mops condylurus, A. Smith, 1833

Don E. Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier, 2019, Molossidae, Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 9 Bats, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 598-672 : 653-654

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.6418279


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Mops condylurus


80. View Plate 50: Molossidae

Angolan Free-tailed Bat

Mops condylurus View in CoL

French: Tadaride dAngola / German: Angola-Bulldogfledermaus / Spanish: Mops de Angola

Other common names: Angolan Mops Bat, Knob-tailed Mops Bat, Knob-tailed Nyctinome

Taxonomy. Nyctinomus condylurus A. Smith, 1833 View in CoL ,

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Although up to four subspecies were recognized by K. F. Koopman in 1994, lack of information from most of the range, as well as the difficulty in assigning populations to these subspecies, makes it inadvisable to recognize subspecies until a full taxonomic revision has been performed.


Distribution. S Mauritania and Senegal E to SW Somalia and S (except most of Congo Basin) to SW Angola, N Botswana, S Zimbabwe, S Mozambique, Swaziland, and E South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal). View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body ¢.64-75 mm, tail 32-52 mm, ear 12-21 mm, hindfoot 11-19 mm, forearm 45-51 mm; weight 16-39 g. Dorsalfur is short, sparse, almost lacking on nape and not extending onto uropatagium, blackish brown, grayish brown, pale gray or pale grayish brown, sometimes with white flecks; underside is grayish brown, pale fawn, yellowish white or whitish, with distinct mid-ventral white markings of variable size and shape (sometimes absent) and white flank-stripe. There are c.7 wrinkles on each side of upper lip and many spoon-shaped hairs. Ears are blackish brown; relatively short (reaching halfway along muzzle when laid forward), inner margins joined by interaural band with backward-opening pouch containing erectile crest of short brown hairs, in both sexes. Tragusis small, squarish, and concealed by antitragus, which is large and subrectangular, with upperside convex and rounded corners. Wings are grayish to pale brown and translucent, and uropatagium is dark grayish brown. Anterior palate is closed and basisphenoid pits are shallow and weakly developed. As is typical for Mops , cusps on M? have third ridge reduced, less than one-half of second. Chromosomal complement has 2n = 48 and FNa = 56 ( Uganda) or 2n = 48 and FNa = 66 ( Somalia and South Africa).

Habitat. While typically associated with hot climates in low-lying areas, the Angolan Free-tailed Bat is able to exploit a very wide range of habitats from semiarid to mesic, and including urban and agricultural areas. Recorded mainly in woodland savanna, including undifferentiated woodland, Isoberlinia (Fabaceae) woodland, mosaics of rainforest and secondarygrassland, wetter and drier miombo woodland, coastal mosaics, Acacia (Fabaceae) Commiphora (Burseraceae) bushland and thicket, and other kinds of thicket bushland.

Food and Feeding. Angolan Free-tailed Bats are open-air foragers, having long, narrow wings with high wing loading (18 N/m?*) and intermediate aspect ratio (9-1). They feed mainly on Coleoptera , Hemiptera , Diptera , and Lepidoptera .

Breeding. Female Angolan Free-tailed Bats are seasonally polyestrous. In eastern South Africa, two birth seasons occur between early September and early May. Gestation lasts 85-90 days. Following the December birth season there is a postpartum estrus. The interval between the two consecutive births decreases with increasing latitude so that births coincide with peaks in rainfall. At 0-1° N in Uganda, births occurred in February-March and July-August, just before each peak in rainfall. At 2° 18’ S in Kenya, births occurred in each of the two wet seasons (November and March-April). At 14-16° S in Malawi, births occurred in November to December and February to March. At 24-26° S in South Africa, births occurred in mid-December and early April. In males, spermatogenic activity peaks from August to early September and from November to early December in eastern South Africa. Litter size is one.

Activity patterns. Feeding may occur throughout the night, with Angolan Free-tailed Bats departing their roost at dusk, 15-60 minutes after sunset, and returning in a swarm at dawn. One study in Kenya reported that males emerged prior to females. The species occupies natural roosts such as crevices in rocks and hollows in trees, but also very commonly roosts in human-made structures such as attics of house roofs and expansion joints in bridges. Angolan Free-tailed Bats emit echolocation calls of low peak frequency (c.25 kHz), narrow bandwidth (c.9 kHz), and long duration (c¢.10 milliseconds). Predators include bat hawks (Macheiramphus alcinus), other diurnal raptors, and occasionally snakes and genets.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. Angolan Free-tailed Bats roost communally in small (10-20) to very large colonies that may number thousands, which often leads to their being regarded as pests by the public, due to the accumulation of droppings and strong smell where they occupy houses and other buildings. Within the colony, they huddle in clusters up to three bats deep, with much jostling and squeaking before they settle down after returning to the roost. They become noisy again c.2 hours before emerging at dusk. Studies of their thermal biology and osmoregulation explain how they are able to exploit such a wide range of habitats. For example, under the hot daytime conditions found in the South African lowveld, they actively select temperatures of 35—40°C at their roost,as it corresponds to their thermoneutral zone and allows them to save energy by maintaining basal metabolism. Higher ambient temperatures result in dehydration. At lower temperatures, they are capable of entering torpor, when body temperature can drop as low as 12°C. They sometimes share roosts with Little Free-tailed Bats ( Chaerephon pumilus ).

Status and Conservation. Classified as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List.

Bibliography. ACR (2017), Bouchard (2001b), Bronner et al. (1999), Buffenstein et al. (1999), Happold, D.C.D. & Happold (1989), Happold, M. (2013aj), Koopman (1994), Maloney et al. (1999), Monadjem, Cotterill, Hutson et al. (2017e), Monadjem, Taylor et al. (2010), Mutere (1973a), O'Shea & Vaughan (1980), Vivier & van der Merwe (1996, 1997 2007).














Mops condylurus

Don E. Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier 2019

Nyctinomus condylurus

A. Smith 1833
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