Credit by Central Plains Bat Removal
Discover the Bumblebee Bat, the world's tiniest bat found only in Thailand and Myanmar
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Discover the Bumblebee Bat, the world's tiniest bat found only in Thailand and Myanmar

In Thailand and Myanmar, the bumblebee bat roosts in caves. This little bat is Vulnerable, despite recent increases in population estimates due to the discovery of new communities.

One of the most exciting facts about the bumblebee bat is that its two geographically distant populations in Thailand and Myanmar may be in the process of speciation, which scientists are interested in studying. 

Of course, it won't happen if nothing is done to prevent the extinction of this tiny species.

The Kitti's hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) is debatably the world's smallest animal and unquestionably the smallest doubt. Kitti's hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat, is roughly the size of a giant bumblebee and weighs about two grams — about the weight of two Skittles. 

Again, take this seriously. It's also one of 440 bat species found in Asia, which accounts for more than a third of the world's 1,200 bat species.

"It's a (an) little creature - even smaller than my thumb (though I have small hands already)," researcher Pipat Soisook told Mongabay.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)

Another reason the bumblebee bat is significant is that it is completely unique. This solitary species represents the whole Craseonycteridae bat family, which diverged from the remainder 33 million years ago.

While these latest population estimates are encouraging for the world's tiniest bat, there are some cautions. Scientists believe that the inhabitants of Myanmar and Thailand are not geographically connected, as evidenced by genetic and echolocation research.

The IUCN Red List designated the bumblebee bat as Endangered for 12 years, but it was downlisted to Vulnerable in 2008 due to the discovery of additional populations, notably those over the Thai border in Myanmar.

Approximately 10,000 bats were detected in 44 caves in western Thailand and five caves in Myanmar during surveys conducted between 1997 and 2008. 

Researchers estimated the Thai population at roughly 45,000 individuals in a 2009 study published in the journal Endangered Species Research, although the total population might be much higher.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)
The world’s tiniest bat, the bumblebee bat, rests on a researcher’s finger. (© Yushi Osawa / Bat Conservation International )

Due to security concerns, a more complete census could not be undertaken in Myanmar, therefore no one knows how many people live there. However, due to the bat's specialized microhabitat requirements, researchers estimate the Myanmar population is likely to be relatively small.

While these latest population estimates are encouraging for the world's tiniest bat, there are some cautions. Scientists believe that the inhabitants of Myanmar and Thailand are not geographically connected, as evidenced by genetic and echolocation research. 

The two groupings could possibly be subspecies or species of their own. If that is eventually determined to be the case, the new population total will have to be divided into two unequal sections. 

Soisook goes on to say that, despite being separated by topography, the Myanmar and Thai bat populations are currently morphologically (physically) similar.

Source: Mongabay

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