29 de diciembre de 2023

Mouse-tailed bats of Egypt 🦇

🦇 Background Information 🦇

This journal post is meant to be a summary of multiple sources and is probably only useful for Egyptian populations, but if you find it useful please feel free to use it as you wish. I am in no way an expert on this topic, but I have done some research on it just for fun. If any of this information is wrong or outdated please let me know.

Rhinopoma is currently the most observed genus of bats in Egypt on iNaturalist. While only 2 species are present in Egypt, almost all of those observations fall short achieving a species-level ID at research-grade. I'm hoping I could change that with this post and my IDs.

R. cystops (Egyptian Mouse-tailed Bat) and R. microphyllum (Greater Mouse-tailed Bat) are understood to be the only two occurring Rhinopoma sp. in Egypt. Some of the sources used and other sources in general will list R. hardwickii (Lesser Mouse-tailed Bat) as a species that also occurs in Egypt (sometimes misspelled as R. hardwickei or R. hardwicki) with R. h. cystops and R. h. arabium as subspecies. However R. cystops is now recognized as its own species, and R. hardwickii is no longer considered to occur in Egypt. R. c. arabium (Arabian Mouse-tailed Bat) is now considered to be a subspecies of R. cystops instead of R. hardwickii, and also occurs in Egypt. You can find more information on this taxonomic split here.

🦇 Differences 🦇


R. microphyllum are larger in size than R. cystops though this might not translate well on pictures without a sense of scale. Probably the most distinct difference between R. cystops and R. microphyllum is the length of their tails. In general, R. microphyllum is a bigger bat with a relatively shorter tail than R. cystops. Though there can be some overlap and outliers. R. microphyllum tails will generally not exceed their forearm length and will not extend past the feet.
R. microphyllum: Length 124–146mm; Tail 52–65mm; Forearm 64–71mm.
R. cystops: Length 101–144mm; Tail 46–73mm; Forearm 47–59mm.


R. microphyllum has almost flat lacrymal regions, and a heavier, more robust skull. R. cystops has a bigger, more distinct, and more triangular skin leaf on the top of their muzzle.


Both Rhinopoma sp. have a habit of roosting near or inside ancient Egyptian temples and pyramids, though they can also be found in or on tunnels, ruins, rocks, abandoned buildings, mosques, etc. Both species can also coexist in the same roosts.

The geographical range for R. microphyllum within Egypt is contained within and around the Nile delta/Cairo region, though some specimens have been collected in Luxor. This makes R. microphyllum generally rarer than R. cystops. R. microphyllum specimens in Egypt generally relate to R. m. microphyllum, though both Hoarth and Qumsiyeh cite that the specimens collected in upper Egypt (Luxor) could relate to R. m. tropica/R. m. tropicalis.

The range for R. cystops is much larger, spanning from the Nile delta in northern Egypt to Lake Nasser near the Egypt-Sudan border. R. c. arabium occurs in northern Egypt; Cairo and its environs, including Wadi Digla, recorded north to Wadi Natrun, and in Fayoum (Qasr Qarun). R. c. cystops have been recorded further south from the Asyut region south to Luxor (common in Dendera Temple), and south to Aswan. R. c. cystops are on average smaller, paler, and grayer than R. c. arabium. The attached image shows the range as one for Rhinopoma hardwickii, though this is from a source published before the taxon split. It should be regarded as R. cystops.


The baculum in R. microphyllum is identical in shape to that of R. cystops but is slightly larger in the former. It is also mentioned that R. microphyllum can usually be paler in coloration than R. cystops, which would tend to be darker and greyer, though this does not seem like a consistent or reliable differentiator.

🦇 Sources 🦇

🦇 Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 9 by Don E. Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier (2019)
🦇 A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt by Richard Hoarth (2009)
🦇 The bats of Egypt by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh (1985)

Publicado el diciembre 29, 2023 06:33 TARDE por cystops cystops | 5 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario