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Eudiscopus denticulus: All you need to know about India's first disk-footed bat reported in Meghalaya

Arfa Javaid

A team of scientists have discovered India's first bat species with disk-shaped sticky feet in Meghalaya. With this discovery, the number of flying mammal in India rose to 130, out of which 66 are found in the Indian state of Meghalaya. 

The discovery of rare species

The breakthrough discovery was made by a team of scientists led by Dr. Uttam Saika from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Shillong and scientists from a few  European natural history museums while sampling a bamboo patch in July 2020. The specialized bamboo dwelling bat species, Eudiscopus denticulus, was recorded in Meghalaya's Lailad village adjacent to Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, about 1000 km westwards of its known habitat in Myanmar.   

The findings by Dr. Uttam Saikia, Rohit Chakravarty, Vishwanath D. Hegde and Asem Bipin Meetei were published in the recent issue of a scientific journal 'Revue Suisse de Zoologie'. It is a biannual Swiss journal that is jointly published by the Geneva Museum and the Swiss Zoological Society.

The European authors of this report were Sergei Kruskop from the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, Gabor Csorba of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, and Manuel Ruedi of Switzerland’s Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle.

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Eudiscopus denticulus

Eudiscopus denticulus is also known as a disk-footed bat. It has disk-like pads in the thumb and bright orange colouration. 

The journal in a press release stated, "The bat species is very distinctive in appearance with prominent disk-like pads in the thumb and bright orange colouration."

It further added, "From the modifications in the feet, it was presumed to be a bamboo-dwelling species which was later identified as a disk-footed bat. This bat is reported to roost inside bamboo internodes aided by their adhesive disks."

"From the analysis of the very high-frequency echolocation calls of the Meghalaya individual, the scientists noted that the cell structure is suitable for orientation in a cluttered environment like inside bamboo grooves," it added. 

As per the researchers, the bamboo-dwelling bat species are common throughout Southern China, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar. However, Eudiscopus denticulus is rare and is found only in a few regions worldwide. The research team compared the DNA sequence of the species found in Meghalaya with the one found in Vietnam and revealed that despite the huge distance, the species were identical. 

"Very interestingly, despite a large geographic distance separating the samples, they were found to be identical. And they were also found to be genetically very different from all other known bats bearing disk-like pads," it noted. 

Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary Meghalaya

1- It is situated in the Ri-Bhoi district near Lailad village and is one of the famous attractions of Meghalaya.

2- It is spread over an area of 29 sq. kms. 

3- It falls in the Eastern Himalayan Global biodiversity hotspot and supports different species including Royal Bengal Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Indian Bison, and Himalayan Black Bear.

4- Among the birds, Manipur Bush Quail, Rufous Necked Hornbill and Brown Hornbill can be spotted here. 

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