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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Long-winged Tomb Bat

Family : Emballonuridae
Species : Taphozous longimanus

Forearm Length : up to 6.3 cm
Tail Length : up to 3.0 cm

Taphozous longimanus
(Long-winged Tomb Bat) is a fast-flying bat that forages above forest canopy, at forest edge, or in urban areas. It is known to roost in caves, under the crowns of palms, and in treeholes. In Thailand it roosts under the eaves of houses. Colony sizes are relatively small, with typically fewer than 20 individuals. (Francis, 2019; Lekagul & McNeely, 1977).

Based on Lekagul & McNeely's 'Mammals Of Thailand', published in 1977, Taphozous longimanus appears to be smaller-bodied than its close relative the Black-bearded Tomb Bat Taphozous melanopogon, but its maximum forearm measurements are very much the same (up to 63-63 mm).

The fur of Taphozous longimanus is chocolate brown to yellowish brown, sometimes speckled with white (in older males?). The underside of the chin is devoid of fur; males have a throat pouch, which females lack. The wings are quite narrow and relatively long, and the tail is long and narrow, always tapering to a sharp tip.

Included here is a video of 6 tomb bats emerging from a treehole at the edge of Panti Forest, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia at dusk. All 6 bats lacked a dark 'beard' (the presence of a well-developed patch of dark fur under the chin is a diagnostic feature of the male Black-bearded Tomb Bat). The bats in this video may therefore either be a female-only roost of Black-bearded Tomb Bat or a roost of Long winged Tomb Bat. The location of the roost in a dead tree tends to suggest the latter (Francis, 2019).

[Watch video of 6 bats emerging from a treehole at dusk (1:07).]

Taphozous longimanus is known to occur in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java and Borneo.

The first record for Singapore was captured in 2016 on intertidal mudflats on Pulau Ubin, an island in the northeast of the country (Teo, 2018). Based on sonograms, it appears possible the species also forages in many other parts of northeast Singapore.

Fig 1 : Example from a cave roost in Thailand. Note the absence of fur beneath the chin. Photo thanks to Jon Hall,

Figs 2 and 3 : Probable Long-winged Tomb Bats emerging at dusk from a tree cavity at the edge of Panti Forest. Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. A total of 6 bats were seen to emerge.

Figs 4 and 5 : Dead tree at Panti Forest, with arrow marking the entry to the tomb bat roost.

Fig 6 : Constant frequency (CF) call recorded at Bedok Reservoir, Singapore, from a search-phase sequence of 16 pulses, with an average peak frequency of 31.6 KHz. This is tentatively identified as Taphozous longimanus (see Hughes et al, 2011).

References :

Francis, C. M. (2019). A Field Guide to the Mammals of South-east Asia. Second Edition. New Holland. 416 pp.

Hughes, A. C., Satasook, C., Bates, P. J., Soisook, P., Sritongchuay, T., Jones, G., & Bumrungsri, S. (2011). Using echolocation calls to identify Thai bat species: Vespertilionidae, Emballonuridae, Nycteridae and Megadermatidae. Acta Chiropterologica, 13(2), 447-455.

Lekagul, B., McNeely, J., (1977). Mammals of Thailand. Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, Thailand. 758 pp.

Teo, R. C. H. (2018). First record of the long-winged tomb bat in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2018: 59-61. National University Of Singapore.






Fig 1

ゥ  Jon Hall,

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Fig 6