Overview

Comprehensive Description

Summary

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Habit

Colonial

Habitat

Open dry habitats

Niche

Crevices, cracks, narrow spaces, plains

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Distribution

Range Description

Found throughout Africa, and in the Arabian peninsula through to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

In the Mediterranean region there are isolated records from southern Morocco and western Algeria but it is more widely distributed in Egypt along the Nile River valley eastwards to the Red Sea coast and south to the Sudanese border. The species is thought to be more widely distributed than is currently known and may well occur elsewhere in the region.

In South Asia, this widely distributed species is presently known from Afghanistan (Kabul Province) (Habibi 2003), Bangladesh (no exact location) (Khan 2001, Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu, 2005), India (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal), Pakistan (Punjab and Sind) and Sri Lanka (Central and Uva Provinces) (Molur et al. 2002).

Elevation: sea level up to 2,100 m asl.
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Global distribution

Afganistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, West Africa, Yemen

Known presence in Protected Areas

None

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Distribution in Egypt

Narrow (Nile Valley and Red Sea coast).

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Geographic Range

Tadarida aegyptiaca, the Egyptian free-tailed bat, has an Old World distribution, stretching from Morocco across central and east Africa to southwest Asia, India, and Sri Lanka, excluding the Sahara desert. The range of T. aegyptiaca includes much of the African continent to South Africa.

This species has a patchy distribution throughout its range. It is poorly known through northwestern Africa, but in other parts of its range it is quite abundant and widespread, including India and South Africa.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native )

  • Nowak, R. 1994. Walker's bats of the world. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Advani, R. 1982. Feeding ecology of Tadarida aegyptiaca thomasi in the Indian desert. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 47: 18-22.
  • Bernard, R., J. Tsita. 1995. Seasonally monoestrous reproduction in the molossid bat, Tadarida aegyptiaca from low temperate latitudes (33°S) in South Africa. South African Journal of Zoology, 30/1: 18-22.
  • Denys, C., W. Bogdanowicz, S. Aulagnier. 1995. First record of Tadarida aegyptiaca (Chiroptera, Molossidae) from Morocco. Mammalia, 59/2: 266-268.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Colonial
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Physical Description

Tadarida aegyptiaca is sexually dimorphic, with males slightly smaller than females. Males range in size from 11.0 to 20.0 g, with an average of 15.8 g, while females range from 13.8 to 20.5 g, averaging 16.3 g. The snout is long and slightly upturned at the lip. Ears are very large (18 to 23 mm long) and forward-pointing. The tragus is square with an accessory appendage. These bats have a grayish-brown dorsal coat, with particularly dark areas on the back of the head and the back. Tadarida aegyptiaca shares only with Tadarida brasiliensis among Tadarida the distinct separation of the ears along the top of the head.

The wingspan of T. aegyptiaca averages 35.4 cm, while the wing area is 0.0130 m^2. The aspect ratio for the wings is 9.7, with a wing loading of 12.0 Nm^-2. Body length is 104 to 120 mm, tail length is 41 to 46 mm, and forearm lenth is 47 to 56 mm. The dental formula is 1/2, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3.

Range mass: 13.8 to 20.5 g.

Average mass: 16.3 g.

Range length: 104 to 120 mm.

Average wingspan: 35.4 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger

  • Silva, M., J. Downing. 1995. CRC handbook of mammalian body masses. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
  • Hoath, R. 2003. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt. New York: The American University in Cairo Press.
  • Norberg, U., J. Rayner. 1987. Ecological morphology and flight in bats (Mammalia; Chiroptera): wing adaptations, flight performance, foraging strategy and echolocation. Philospohical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B, 316: 335-427.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in varied habitat types from arid areas to humid hills and valleys. It roosts under banner boards, crevices in caves, cliff faces, large boulders and rocks, narrow spaces between pillars, walls, crevices in old buildings, temples, and forts, either in small groups of 2 or 3 individuals to hundreds and thousands of individuals. It is a late and fast flyer, hunts in the air and also gleans the ground for ground dwelling insects. It feeds on beetles, moths, orthoptera, wasps, winged termites, flies, caterpillars, spiders, water beetles, and other large insects. A single young is born (Bates and Harrison 1997).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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General Habitat

"
Habitat

Open dry habitats

Niche

Crevices, cracks, narrow spaces, plains

"
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Tadarida aegyptiaca is usually found in warm, semi-arid and arid regions. It is generally not found in forested or mountainous habitats.

Egyptian free-tailed bats prefer rock crevices and cliff faces for diurnal roosts. They nest in human structures as well, including the roofs of houses and churches. They are also known to roost in caves, crevices, and dead trees.

Range elevation: 500 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; chaparral ; scrub forest

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; caves

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Egyptian free-tailed bats are echolocating aerial insectivores. Equipped with high-aspect-ratio wings, the actively hunts airborne prey, possibly up to 500 m above ground. They hunt using a long (10-20 ms), narrow bandwidth (5-10 kHz) search-phase echolocation call centered around 14-18 kHz. Echolocation frequencies can range up to 26 kHz, while the highest energy frequency is about 18 kHz. Tadarida aegyptiaca is considered a fast, long-range aerial-hawking insectivore.

This species is known to consume insects of the orders Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. In a study of T. aegyptiaca in the Rajasthan desert of India (25-30ºN), Advani (1982) found a distinct seasonal variation in diet. During the winter (December through February at this latitude), the bats preferred Coleoptera, Orthoptera, Diptera, and Hymenoptera. Foods consumed in less quantities during the winter included Lepidoptera, Araneae, Neuroptera, and Dictyoptera. In the spring and summer, Coleoptera contributed to an even greater percentage of diet, nearly 40%. Orthoptera were also a major component of the diet, as was Lepidoptera. Isoptera and Hymenoptera made up a modest percent of the diet, while Dictyoptera, Diptera, and Odonata made only meager contributions. The monsoon season brought about drastic changes in dietary composition. Isoptera became the dominant food source, with Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, and Orthoptera contributing to most of the rest of the diet. Diptera and Neuroptera made minor contributions, and some plant material was found as well. In the post-monsoon period prior to winter (October and November), dietary preferences closely resembled those for the winter. Coleoptera and Hymenoptera predominated, while Orthoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, and Odonata all made significant contributions. Some Isoptera, Dictyoptera, Neuroptera, Araneae, and plant parts were also found.

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore , Eats non-insect arthropods)

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Tadarida aegyptiaca is a common insectivore throughout much of its range. This species may also be a host to various viruses and other pathogens, including rabies.

  • Hill,, J., J. Smith. 1984. Bats: A Natural History. London: British Museum of Natural History.
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Predation

Tadarida aegyptiaca makes up a small part of the diet of owls. Young in roosts may fall prey to snakes.

Known Predators:

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Like all microchiropterans, Tadarida aegyptiaca depends on echolocation to some degree. Apart from navigation, T. aegyptiaca uses its echolocating abilities in active pursuit of insectivorous prey.

There is some evidence to suggest that Egyptian free-tailed bats have a well-developed olfactory sense. The number of perforations in the cribriform plate for this species is much higher than other members of Vespertilionoidea. The cribriform plate facilitates the targeting of olfactory receptor (OR) axons with their specific glomeruli, leading to the first synapse of OR neurons with the olfactory bulb. Therefore, a higher number of cribriform plate perforations should be correlated with greater olfactory acuity. Rather than foraging, social behavior may be the reason for such olfactory prowess. However, in their study of scent-dispersing hairs (osmetrichia) in pteropodid and molossid bats, Hickey and Fenton (1987) found distinct hair types present in scent dispersing regions of several Tadarida, but not for the Egyptian free-tailed bat.

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic ; ultrasound ; echolocation

  • Bhatnagar, K., F. Kallen. 1974. Cribriform plate of ethmoid, olfactory bulb and olfactory acuity in forty species of bats. Journal of Morphology, 142: 71-90.
  • Hickey, M., M. Fenton. 1987. Scent-dispersing hairs (osmetrichia) in some Pteropodidae and Molossidae (Chiroptera). Journal of Mammalogy, 68/2: 381-384.
  • Rowe, T., T. Eiting, T. Macrini, R. Ketcham. 2005. Organization of the olfactory and respiratory skeleton in the nose of the gray short-tailed opossum Monodelphis domestica . Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 12: 303-336.
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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Data for Tadarida aegyptiaca is lacking, but the lifespan for molossids in general averages about ten years, plus or minus about three years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
10 years.

  • Barclay, R., L. Harder. 2003. Life histories in bats: life in the slow lane. Pp. 209-253 in T Kunz, M Fenton, eds. Bat Ecology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
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Reproduction

There is no available data on the specific mating systems found in Tadarida aegyptiaca. As Advani (1982:19) states, “little is known about the ecology, biology, and ethology of this species.”

Tadarida aegyptiaca is monoestrous and monotocous, and it breeds seasonally. Females are sexually mature during their first year, whereas males do not reach sexual maturity until their second year. In South Africa, spermatogenesis occurs in February. By July, over 90% of seminiferous tubules are in late spermatogenesis. Spermatozoa are released into the epididymes and stored in the caudal epididymis from July through September. The seminiferous tubules regress in August and September, becoming inactive from October to January. Late spermatogenesis produces associated increases in testis mass, diameter of seminiferous tubules, and height of seminiferous epithelium above the condition during spermatogenic inactivity.

The uterus of Egyptian free-tailed bats is bicornuate in sexually mature females. The right uterine horn and ovary are significantly larger than their corresponding structures on the left side of the body. Follicular development occurs in April. Both ovaries develop up to the secondary follicle; later stages (including Graadian follicles and the corpus luteum) develop only in the right ovary. During the development of these follicles, the uterine endometrium becomes increasingly vascularized.

Copulation, ovulation, and fertilization occur in August. Gestation lasts about four months; births occur in December. A second period of follicular development occurs between October and December but does not result in ovulation. Lactation continues through January; by February females are in anoestrus.

A somewhat different reproductive cycle is observed for this species in the northern hemisphere. In India, mating occurs for three weeks from the end of May to early June. Ovulation immediately follows copulation. Gestation lasts from 77 to 90 days. Pregnancy occurs from June through September, with births occurring through October.

Breeding interval: Tadarida aegyptiaca breeds once yearly.

Breeding season: Mating occurs between May and August, depending on latitude.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Range gestation period: 77 to 120 days.

Average weaning age: 1 months.

Range time to independence: 8 (high) months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous

Parental investment prior to parturition is high in both sexes. Males generate and store sperm for up to six months, whereas females exhibit a very long period of gestation (up to four months). Because females only give birth to one individual each year, they are able to devote all post-parturition resources to that pup.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

  • Advani, R. 1982. Feeding ecology of Tadarida aegyptiaca thomasi in the Indian desert. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 47: 18-22.
  • Bernard, R., J. Tsita. 1995. Seasonally monoestrous reproduction in the molossid bat, Tadarida aegyptiaca from low temperate latitudes (33°S) in South Africa. South African Journal of Zoology, 30/1: 18-22.
  • Kashyap, S. 1980. Reproductive cycle of the Indian molossid bat, Tadarida aegyptiaca . Current Science, 49/6: 252-253.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Tadarida aegyptiaca

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M., Bergmans, W., Cotterill, F.W., Fahr, J. & Jacobs, D.

Reviewer/s
Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Broadly distributed and locally common, hence is listed as Least Concern.

History
  • 2004
    Least Concern
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Tadarida aegyptiaca is not listed on any threatened or endangered species lists.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Status in Egypt

Native, resident.

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Population

Population
This species is widespread and common in its South Asian range, where its population seems to be stable (Molur et al. 2002).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Not known
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Threats

Major Threats
No serious threats other than roost disturbance from human interference is noted for this species (Molur et al. 2002). Pesticides used against locusts are a threat as for all bat species found in the Saharan belt.
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Human interference.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is protected by national legislation in some of the Mediterranean range states as well as in South Africa. It is likely to be found in protected areas.

A survey using bat detectors should be undertaken to help clarify the distribution limits and population size of this species as it is probably more widespread than current records indicate. A study on the impacts of pesticides is required, especially ways in which the impact might be minimised.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Because this species is known to roost in buildings, guano deposits may cause some risk of contamination by bacteria, arthropods, and other pests. However, guano deposits are usually small and dry, so this risk is slight. There is also some risk of rabies from coming into contact with this species, like all bats. Additionally, the coarse-scale distributions of disease outbreaks of all four strains of African filovirus (including Marburg and Ebola) overlap with the range of T. aegyptiaca. A total of 38 genera and well over 100 species of small mammal share this overlap, and no work yet has been performed on Egyptian free-tailed bats to show that they serve as a host for Filoviridae viruses.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (causes disease in humans ); household pest

  • Peterson, A., D. Carroll, J. Mills, K. Johnson. 2004. Potential mammalian filovirus reservoirs. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 10/12: 2073-2081.
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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Egyptian free-tailed bats are geographically widespread consumer of potentially damaging pest animals such as Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera. They may thus serve to control populations of harmful insects in areas where they are abundant.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Risks

Risk Statement

"
Habitat status

Not known

Data quality

Literature, indirect information; Inferred.

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Wikipedia

Egyptian free-tailed bat

The Egyptian free-tailed bat (Tadarida aegyptiaca) is a species of bat in the family Molossidae. It is distributed through most of Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman to Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. In India, this species has been recorded from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (Simmons, 2005; Pradhan & Mahabal, 2001; Karad & Yardi, 2004; Bates & Harrison, 1997; Srinivasulu et al., in press). Its natural habitat is dry savanna.

Description[edit]

Head and body length is 6-8cm. Forearms 5cm. Wingspan is 35cm.

Completely chocolate brown, with a light brown basal portion to the hairs of the dorsal side and a white base to the hairs on the underside. Large lips with prominent tail. Fur is soft, dense, and short.

Culture[edit]

Known as මහ දිව් රැළි-තොල් වවුලා (maeninag "greater wrinkled-lipped bat") in Sinhala.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A., Bergmans, W., Cotterill, F.W., Fahr, J., & Jacobs, D. 2004. Tadarida aegyptiaca. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 30 July 2007.
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