Latin America

New species of golden bat discovered in Bolivia

Rachel Chase

Do you think that blond bats have more fun than their brunette sisters?

New species of golden bat discovered in Bolivia

(Photo: El Comercio/Dr. Marco Tschapka)

According to the BBC, researchers have discovered a new species of gold-colored bat, native to Bolivia.

The new species has been dubbed Myotis midastactus. The Myotis genus of bats are sometimes described as “mouse-eared” bats.

Previously, specimens of Myotis midastactus were believed to be members of a different species, Myotis simus, the velvety myotis, reports the BBC. Velvety myotis live in Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Though scientists believed that the velvety myotis also lived in Brazil, this recent study has led researchers to believe that the bats previously classified as velvety myotis in Bolivia are actually Myotis midastactus.

The BBC reports that the researchers involved in classifying the new species did so by looking at museum specimens, as they were unable to capture a live Myotis midastactus. Dr. Ricardo Moratelli, one of the scientists who worked on the project, told press that museum collections are a rich source of information about rare: “I can confidently say that many new species from different zoological groups are in museum cabinets around the world, awaiting recognition and formal description.”

Dr. Moratelli, who has been involved in the discovery of a number of species, added “Discovering new species is the most exciting part of my research, and in some cases describing a new species can be the first step to preserve others.”

According to the BBC, the new species was given the name “midastactus” in reference to the legendary King Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold. The bat is notable for its short, gold fur.

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