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







Tube-nosed Bats

Family : Vespertilionidae
Species : Murina spp.

Forearm Length : up to 42 mm (Murina leucogaster)
Weight : up to 9 grams (Murina leucogaster)

Tube-nosed Bats of the genus Murina are widespread in Southeast Asia, and new species are constantly being uncovered. These bats inhabit a wide range of forest types, from lowlands to montane areas. A number of species have been observed flying low over forest streams.

Tube-nosed Bats (not to be confused with Tube-nosed Fruit Bats of the genus Nyctimene) are distinguished from other microchiropterans by their enlarged, tube-like nostrils which splay outwards from the snout. (The closely-related Hairy-winged Bat Harpiocephalus harpia, also has similar elongated nostrils.)

Murina bats have rounded or semi-pointed ears and a narrow, pointed tragus (this is the structure in front of the ear canal of echolocating bats and other mammals). Their fur is typically greyish-brown, orange-brown or golden above, and pale or white on the throat and belly.

Yu et al (2020) state that 39 species are currently known, with many recent additions to the group being uncovered in Indochina and southern China, based on taxonomic revisions and new species discoveries.

For example, Csorba et al (2011) described three new species from Cambodia and Vietnam, including Murina cineracea and Murina walstoni   (see Figs 2 and 3, respectively). And in 2017, Soisook et al described a new, long-haired species from northern Myanmar (see Fig 4). There are many other examples of recent finds in the scientific literature.

The Brown (or Lesser) Tube-nosed Bat Murina suilla (see Fig 1), is widespread in the south of the region (i.e. southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java and Borneo). Weighing around 4 grams, this is one of the smallest Murina bats.

Murina cyclotis (Round Tube-nosed Bat) is the most widespread species in northern parts of Southeast Asia (Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, northern Borneo and the Philippines), however this may represent a complex of cryptic, closely-related species.

It seems likely that many more species of tube-nosed bat await discovery.

Fig 1 : Murina suilla from Singapore, found in secondary forest on one of the country's outlying islands. Photo thanks to Robert Teo (NParks).

Fig 2 : Murina cineracea from Kim Hy, Bac Kan Province, Vietnam.  Photo thanks to Gabor Csorba.

Fig 3 : Murina walstoni from Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia.  The pointed tragus, in the middle of the ear canal, is clearly visible in this image. Photo thanks to Gabor Csorba.

Fig 4 : Murina hkakaboraziensis from Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Kachin, Upper Myanmar (elevation = 510 metres). Photo thanks to Pipat Soisook.

References : M5, M6

Csorba, G., Son, N. T., Saveng, I. & Furey, N. M. (2011). Revealing cryptic bat diversity: three new Murina and redescription of M. tubinaris from Southeast Asia. Journal of Mammalogy, 92(4), 891-904.

Soisook, P., Thaw, W. N., Kyaw, M., Oo, S. S. L., Pimsai, A., Suarez-Rubio, M. & Renner, S. C. (2017). A new species of Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from sub-Himalayan forests of northern Myanmar. Zootaxa, 4320(1), 159-172.

Yu, W. H., Csorba, G. & Wu, Y. (2020). Tube-nosed variations紡 new species of the genus Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from China. Zoological research, 41(1), 70.

Fig 1 :  Murina suilla
ゥ  Robert Teo
Fig 2 : Murina cineracea
ゥ  Gabor Csorba
Fig 3 :  Murina walstoni
ゥ  Gabor Csorba

Fig 4 :  Murina hkakaboraziensis
ゥ  Pipat Soisook

Image attributions :
Figs 2 and 3 by
Gabor Csorba are licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.