Murina cyclotisround-eared tube-nosed bat

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Geographic Range

Murina cyclotis is widespread in Central and Southeast Asia. It is found in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, as far north as northern Myanmar, south through Indochina, Vietnam, Malaysia and parts of Indonesia and the lesser Sunda islands. They're also found in the Philippine Islands on the islands of Biliran, Camiguin, Catanduanes, Luzon, Mindanao, Sibuyan, and Siqujor. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Heaney, 2005; Lekagul and McNeely, 1988; Medway, 1983; Myers, et al., 2000; Wilson and Reeder, 1993)

Habitat

Murina cyclotis occurs at elevations as low as 250 m in the foothills to 1,500 m in the montane forests. Round-eared tube-nosed bats are found primarily in the tropical forests of southeast Asia. Coastal areas inhabited by M. cyclotis are bordered by the South China Sea and Philippine Sea, which suggests reliance on humid regions. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Heaney, 2005; Medway, 1983; Phillips, 1980)

  • Range elevation
    250 to 1452 m
    820.21 to 4763.78 ft
  • Average elevation
    965 m
    3166.01 ft

Physical Description

Round-eared tube-nosed bats range in weight from 9 to 12 g, with total length between 80 and 89 mm. Only one wingspan measurement (229 mm) has been reported for this species. Females tend to be slightly larger than males. Round-eared tube-nosed bats are diagnosed by tubular nostrils and short, round ears. They have triangular tragi, which are long, narrow, and tapering to a point. The anterior braincase is ballooned and the upper lip possesses a protruding fringe of hairs. Murina cyclotis has small eyes which are closer to the ears than the nostrils. Two different color patterns have been noted. In one color variant, the dorsal fur is a reddish-brown, with the hairs increasing in lightness from the base to the tip; the ventral fur is grayish white, with a brownish tinge. In the other color variant, the dorsal fur is grayer, without the reddish tinge; the ventral fur is grayish white without any brownish tinge. This species has a semi-transparent wing membrane, relatively long thumbs, and a tail shorter than the length of its head and body. The feet are hairy, small, and the claws are relatively long and sharp.

Three subspecies of M. cyclotis have been identified. M. c. cyclotis is found from northeastern India to Vietnam, M. c. eileenae is in Sri Lanka and has slightly darker and duller fur, and M. c. peninsularis is found on the Malay Peninsula and is identified by a relatively wider anterior rostrum and more massive teeth.

No seasonal variation in morphology has been reported. (Corbet and Hill, 1992; Lekagul and McNeely, 1988; Medway, 1983; Myers, et al., 2000; Phillips, 1980)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • Range mass
    9 to 12 g
    0.32 to 0.42 oz
  • Range length
    80 to 89 mm
    3.15 to 3.50 in
  • Range wingspan
    229 to 229 mm
    9.02 to 9.02 in

Reproduction

There is little information reported for mating systems in M. cyclotis. (Phillips, 1980)

There is little information reported for general reproductive behavior in round-eared tube-nosed bats. Pregnant females in Pahang, Malay Peninsula were reported to carry two fetuses in the months of February and May. (Medway, 1983)

  • Breeding interval
    Nothing known about the breeding interval of M. cyclotis.
  • Breeding season
    Nothing known about the breeding season of M. cyclotis.
  • Range number of offspring
    2 to 2

There is no information reported for parental investment in M. cyclotis. However, as most bats, females primarily care for the young, nursing them until they can fly.

  • Parental Investment
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

There is no information reported for lifespan and longevity in M. cyclotis.

Behavior

Murina cyclotis individuals feed in open forest areas, and fly approximately 1.8 m above the ground. Their flight is slow but maneuverable. They roost in large dead and dry leaves of the cardamon plant. Several individuals often roost together on a single leaf or bunch of leaves, which serves to camouflage the bats. A closely related species Murina florium has been found roosting in enclosed plant-material nests and hanging nests of bird species, presumably to provide protection where other roosting options are not available. Another closely related species, Murina aurata, is thought to hibernate in trees during the winter. This suggests possible hibernation of M. cyclotis>, but this is not known for certain. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Kingston, et al., 1999; Schulz, 1998)

Home Range

There is no information reported on the home range of Murina cyclotis.

Communication and Perception

Round-eared tube-nosed bats detect their environment through echolocation and minimally through the visual field, as their eyes are small and reduced. They are also sensitive to chemical cues. (Phillips, 1980)

These bats make use of echolocation to avoid obstacles and capture airborne prey. Calls are frequency-modulated (FM), with low intensity and short duration. The calls are at high frequency, starting at 152 to 180 kHz and sweeping down to an end frequency of 43 to 86 kHz. This large bandwidth allows these bats to accurately locate targets in the cluttered forests they inhabit. Furthermore, the use of an extremely high echolocation frequency may reduce the need for both visual and other auditory signals. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Kingston, et al., 1999; Schulz, 1998)

Food Habits

Round-eared tube-nosed bats eat insects in the damp forests they inhabit. A closely related species, M. florium (Flores tube-nosed bats) has been observed to eat in a manner possibly similar to M. cyclotis. While eating a moth, M. florium individuals were observed perching by both feet and thumb claws. They placed separated pieces of the insect into the uropatagium. After feeding on the edible parts, they released the waste to the ground below. This posture was also used by M. florium to ingest fecal matter (coprophagy). (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Bonaccorso, 1998)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects

Predation

The reddish-brown color of M. cyclotis makes it difficult for predators to detect as they roost among dead leaves.

There are no known predators of M. cyclotis, however the skulls of a closely related species, M. florium, have been recovered from owl pellets. Most bats are preyed on by owls as they fly and by snakes at roosts. (Bonaccorso, 1998; Phillips, 1980)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Round-eared tube-nosed bats eat insects and impact their populations in the areas in which they live. However, they may be too uncommon to have much impact.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Because they are insectivorous bats, round-eared tube-nosed bats reduce the number of insects in the areas they inhabit, making them beneficial for agriculture and in reducing insect-borne diseases.

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Murina cyclotis may carry and transmit diseases such as rabies to humans, although this possibility is statistically quite low.

Conservation Status

Round-eared tube-nosed bats do not appear to be endangered. They are one of the more abundant Murina species, but have not been studied extensively. Although individuals are relatively rare, the distribution is very broad. Because they haven't been studied well, it's possible that distinct regional populations have not yet been diagnosed. Their occupation of tropical forests in southeast Asia suggest that they will persist wherever forests persist. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Phillips, 1980)

Other Comments

The type specimen is from Darjeeling, India. (Wilson and Reeder, 1993)

Contributors

Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Evan Staszewski (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor, instructor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

altricial

young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

arboreal

Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

causes disease in humans

an animal which directly causes disease in humans. For example, diseases caused by infection of filarial nematodes (elephantiasis and river blindness).

causes or carries domestic animal disease

either directly causes, or indirectly transmits, a disease to a domestic animal

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

coastal

the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.

cryptic

having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.

echolocation

The process by which an animal locates itself with respect to other animals and objects by emitting sound waves and sensing the pattern of the reflected sound waves.

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

insectivore

An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

oriental

found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map

riparian

Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

social

associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

temperate

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

ultrasound

uses sound above the range of human hearing for either navigation or communication or both

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

References

Alviola, P. 1999. "The Distribution and Ecology of Bats in the Polillo Islands, Philippines" (On-line). Wildlife of Polillo Island, Philippines. Accessed March 11, 2006 at http://polillo.www6.50megs.com/bats.html.

Bates, P., D. Harrison. 1997. Bats of the Indian Subcontinent. England: Harrison Zoological Museum.

Bonaccorso, F. 1998. Bats of Papua New Guinea. Washington, D.C.: Conservation International.

Corbet, G., J. Hill. 1992. The Mammals of the Indomalayan Region: A Systematic Review. New York: Oxford University Press.

Heaney, L. 2005. "Murina Cyclotis of Philippine Mammalian Fauna" (On-line). Mammalian Fauna of the Philippine Islands. Accessed March 11, 2006 at http://www.fieldmuseum.org/philippine_mammals/Murina_cyclotis.htm.

Kingston, T., G. Jones, Z. Akbar, T. Kunz. 1999. Echolocation signal design in Kerivoulinae and Murininae (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Malaysia. Journal of Zoology, 249 (3): 359-374.

Lekagul, B., J. McNeely. 1988. Mammals of Thailand. Bangkok: Darnsutha Press.

Medway, L. 1983. The Wild Mammals of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) And Singapore. New York: Oxford University Press.

Myers, P., J. Smith, H. Lama. 2000. A recent collection of bats from Nepal, with notes on Eptesicus Dimissus. Zeitschrift fuer Saeugetierkunde, 65: 155.

Phillips, W. 1980. Manual of the mammals of Sri Lanka. Colombo: Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka.

Schulz, M. 1998. Bats in bird nests in Australia: a review. Mammal Review, 28 (2): 69-76.

Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution Press.