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Rare Long-Tongued Bat Spotted in Bolivia

posted: 08/24/15
by: Discovery News
Long-tongued bat
Mileniusz Spanowicz/WCS

During an expedition in Bolivia, a research team encountered the little-documented tube-lipped nectar bat (Anoura fistulata), known for its enormous tongue.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) was in the midst of its multi-year "Identidad Madidi" expedition in Madidi National Park when they spied Anoura fistulata for the first time ever there.

The bat was discovered just 10 years ago in Ecuador. It lives in the Ecuadorian Andes and is known from only three other records. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists Anoura fistulata as "Data Deficient" because not enough is known about the creature's abundance and distribution to reliably categorize its conservation status.

The tube-lipped nectar bat's tongue is a world beater. It extends 3.3 inches (8.5 centimeters) -- the longest tongue, relative to its size (about 1.5 times its own body), of any mammal, according to the researchers. All the better for the nectar fan to reach well into the deepest flowers.

The WCS expedition said it also discovered a new species of robber frog (Oreobates sp. nov.) and marked the presence of an annellated coral snake (Micrurus annellatus); the Hagedorn's tube-snouted ghost knifefish (Sternarchorhynchus hagedornae); and the long-tailed rice rat (Nephelomys keaysi).

Wildlife Conservation Society's Dr. Robert Wallace called his team's discoveries "just the beginning," in a press release, adding that the number of species confirmed during the group's ongoing expedition make Madidi "the world's most biologically diverse park."

This post originally appeared on Discovery News

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