Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia


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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2021






Bats of Southeast Asia  

Conservation links:

IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group
SE Asia Bat Conservation Research Unit
Bat Conservation International
SE Asia Bat Database



Globally bats (Order : Chiroptera) comprise around 20% of all mammal species, but this percentage rises in Southeast Asia where bats may comprise around 40% of all mammals.  They play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal yet remain amongst the least studied of the regions mammals.

Included here are examples of the huge flying foxes which can weigh over 1 kg and have wingspans of almost 1.5 metres, and the tiny microbats weighing just a few grams. Larger bats are generally frugivorous (fruit-eating), while smaller species tend to be insectivorous.


Flying Foxes  (Pteropodidae, Pteropodinae)
5 genera, 3 of which occur in SE Asia: 
Acerodon:  5 species (all in SE Asia).  Pteropus: ~65 species (~25 occur in SE Asia).  Styloctenium:  2 species (both in SE Asia).  Examples:

Sunda Flying Fox
Acerodon mackloti     
  Black Flying Fox
Pteropus alecto   
  Island Flying Fox
Pteropus hypomelanus   
Lyle's Flying Fox
Pteropus lylei 
Large Flying Fox
Pteropus vampyrus   

Fruit Bats  (Pteropodidae, Cynopterinae)
14 genera and ~30 species, most of which occur in SE Asia.  Examples:

Spotted-winged Fruit Bat
Balionycteris maculata
  Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat
Cynopterus brachyotis  
  Horsfield's Fruit Bat
Cynopterus horsfieldii
Forest Short-nosed Fruit Bat  Cynopterus minutus  
Dusky Fruit Bat 
Penthetor lucasi

Dawn Fruit Bats and Rousettes  (Pteropodidae, Rousettinae)
2 genera: Eonycteris (3 species, all occur in SE Asia). Rousettus (10 species, 6 of  which occur in SE Asia).  Examples:

Cave Nectar Bat
Eonycteris spelaea   
Rousettus spp. 

Tube-nosed Fruit Bats 
Nyctimene spp.  19 species (13 in SE Asia).   Examples:

Long-tongued Nectar Bats 
Macroglossus spp.: 2 species (both of  which occur in SE Asia).  Examples:

Tube-nosed Fruit Bats
Nyctimene & Paranyctimene spp.
  Lesser Long-tongued Nectar Bat
Macroglossus minimus  

Sheath-tailed Bats  (Emballonuridae)
More than 55 species worldwide.  Around 13 species in SE Asia from the genera Emballonura, Mosia, Saccolaimus and Taphozous.  Examples:

Lesser Sheath-tailed Bat
Emballonura monticola  
  Pouched Tomb Bat
Saccolaimus saccolaimus
  Black-bearded Tomb Bat
Taphozous melanopogon
  Theobald's Tomb Bat
Taphozous theobaldi

False Vampires  (Megadermatidae)
Worldwide 6 species, of which 3 are in SE Asia.  Examples:

Slit-faced Bats  (Nycteridae)
Worldwide >15 species, of which 2 occur in SE Asia.  Examples:

Lesser False Vampire
Megaderma spasma   
        Malayan Slit-faced Bat
Nycteris tragata 

Horseshoe Bats  (Rhinolophidae)
Worldwide more than 100 species in the single genus Rhinolophus, with numerous species in SE Asia.  Examples:

Creagh's Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus creaghi
  Great Woolly Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus luctus morio   
Glossy Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus refulgens
Lesser Woolly Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus sedulus   
Lesser Brown Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus stheno 
Trefoil Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus trifoliatus   

Roundleaf Bats  (Hipposideridae)
Worldwide there are more than 70 species in 7 genera. In SE Asia there are numerous species in the genus Hipposideros, and 6 others in the genera Ascelliscus, Coelops and Paracoelops.  Examples:

Great Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros armiger
  Bicoloured Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros bicolor
Fawn Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros cervinus
  Ashy Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros cineraceus
Diadem Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros diadema
Intermediate Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros larvatus 
  Shield-faced Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros lylei    

Hog-nosed Bats  (Craseonycteridae)
1 species, which is only known from Myanmar and Thailand.

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat
Craseonycteris thonglongyai   

Evening Bats  (Vespertilionidae)
Worldwide there are more than 300 species in more than 50 genera. In SE Asia numerous species occur, particularly in the genera Kerivoula, Murina, Myotis and Pipistrellus.  Examples:

Woolly Bats
Kerivoula spp.
  Bent-winged Bats
Miniopterus spp.
  Tube-nosed Bats
Murina spp.
  Whiskered Myotis
Myotis muricola
Ridley's Myotis
Myotis ridleyi   
Large-footed Myotis
Myotis spp.   
Pipistrellus spp.       
  Asiatic Lesser Yellow Bat
Scotophilus kuhlii
  Bamboo Bats
Tylonycteris spp.

Free-tailed Bats  (Molossidae)
Worldwide there are more than 110 species in 18 genera. In SE Asia, as of 2020,  there are 14 representatives of 6 genera including Chaerephon (4), Cheiromeles (2), Mormopterus (1), Mops (2), Otomops (3) and Tadarida (2).  Examples:

Naked Bulldog Bat
Cheiromeles torquatus 


Image of Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat S饕astien J. and others is licensed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.