Taphozous nudiventrisnaked-rumped tomb bat

Geographic Range

Taphozous nudiventris is widely distributed, occurring through much of northern and central Africa, the Middle East, India, and other sub-Himalayan areas, and into the Malay Peninsula. Countries in which naked-rumped tomb bats are known to occur include: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, United Republic of Togo, and Turkey. (Mickleburgh, et al., 2004; Harrison and Bates, 1991; Mickleburgh, et al., 2004)


Naked-rumped tomb bats are found in arid habitats, including dry grasslands, deserts, and scrub forests. (Mickleburgh, et al., 2004)

Naked-rumped tomb bats roost in crevices in well-lit caves, old abandoned buildings, and sandstone hills. Sometimes they occupy the nests of swifts and are found in association with Rousettus leschenaultii and Hipposideros speoris. The roosts of T. nudiventris often contain only a few individuals, however, some roosts have been found with hundreds of individuals. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Mickleburgh, et al., 2004; Qumsiyeh, et al., 1998)

Physical Description

Taphozous nudiventris is large compared to other species of Taphozous. It is similar to Taphozous perforatus but the length of the forearm is larger in T. nudiventris, ranging from 64 mm to 83 mm. This species is divided into two subspecies, T. n. nudiventris, which includes all specimens from the Levant and southern Arabia, and T. n. magnus, which includes specimens from Iraq, Bahrain, and Das Island. Taphozous nudiventris magnus is larger than T. n. nudiventris). Sexual dimorphism is apparent, with males larger than females in all characters except total length and forearm length. Males have a gland on the upper part of their chest, which is absent in females. The pelage is short and fine. It is brown or grayish on the dorsal surface and light grey on the ventral surface. The lower back and abdomen are naked of hair, giving them their common name: "naked rumped tomb bat." (Harrison and Bates, 1991; Qumsiyeh, 1985)

The skull is large and robust with well developed sagittal and lamdoidal crests. It is similar in size to T. saccolaimus and T. theobaldi. The skull of T. nudiventris can be distinguished from T. saccolaimus by the tympanic bullae, which are completely ossified in the former, but not in the latter. Compared to T. theobaldi, T. nudiventris has broad zygomatic arches and less developed basisphenoid pits. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Harrison and Bates, 1991)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • Range length
    101 to 146 mm
    3.98 to 5.75 in


Naked rumped tomb bats breed seasonally during the autumn. There has been little research on their mating system. In the closely related species, Taphozous melanopogon, the sex ratio in colonies varies throughout the season. There is an equal ratio of males and females during the breeding season but during the non-breeding season there are more males than females, suggesting some differences in roosting preferences of males and females. (Sapkal and Kahmre, 1983; Harrison and Bates, 1991; Sapkal and Kahmre, 1983)

In Iraq, insemination in females happens in autumn before naked rumped tomb bats migrate to winter roosts. The fertilization of the egg is delayed until 3 to 7 days after females awake from hibernation at the end of March. A single offspring is born in the last week of May. The offspring remains naked and blind for three weeks and travels on its mother's back during this time period. By the end of August the young are capable of flight. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Harrison and Bates, 1991; Qumsiyeh, et al., 1998)

In India, copulation and fertilization take place at the same time, during the last week of March and the first week of April. The gestation period is about 98 days, and birth occurs in mid-July. Full adult size is reached in about six months. Females are sexually mature at about nine months and males at about twenty months. (Bates and Harrison, 1997)

  • Breeding interval
    Naked rumped tomb bats breed once yearly.
  • Breeding season
    Mating occurs in August, before hibernation, or in March, after emerging from hibernation.
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    98 days
  • Average weaning age
    6 weeks
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    9 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    20 months

For three weeks after the young are born they cling to their mother in flight. Lactation lasts for about six weeks. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Harrison and Bates, 1991)

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


Not much is known about longevity in T. nudiventris


In southern Iraq T. nudiventris individuals hibernate from the end of November until the end of March. They store fat reserves for hibernation. They tend to have a strong and unpleasant odor from accumulated wastes in roosts. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Harrison and Bates, 1991; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Harrison and Bates, 1991)

Home Range

The home range of T. nudiventris is large. This species has a strong, fast and straight flight and it is thought to travel far from its roost when hunting. (Qumsiyeh, 1985; Qumsiyeh, 1985)

Communication and Perception

Naked rumped tomb bats communicate through loud metallic squeaking. They use echolocation to aid in hunting and flight. Also, the glandular sacs on their chests may be used for territorial scent marking. (Harrison and Bates, 1991)

Food Habits

Naked rumped tomb bats are insectivorous. Moth scales were found in large quantities in stomach contents, being especially common in the Gharbiya province when cotton leaf worms, Spodoptera littoralis, are abundant. In addition, they feed on beetles, cockroaches, house crickets, wasps, grasshoppers, and winged ants. (Qumsiyeh, 1985; Qumsiyeh, 1985; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Qumsiyeh, 1985)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects


In Palestine, T. nudiventris has been found in the pellets of barn owls, Tyto alba. (Qumsiyeh, 1985)

Ecosystem Roles

Taphozous nudiventris is host to many different parasites including Trypanosoma longiflagellum, Lecithodendrium duboisi, Prosthodendrium parvouterus, Plagiorchis koreanus and Pycnoporus heteroporus. It is also considered a predator to many insects, which helps keep insect populations in check. (Al-kuwari and Kaltham, 1999; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Kifune, et al., 1986; Marinkelle, 1977; Saoud and Ramadan, 1976)

Commensal/Parasitic Species
  • Trypanosoma longiflagellum
  • Lecithodendrium duboisi
  • Prosthodendrium parvouterus
  • Plagiorchis koreanus
  • Pycnoporus heteroporus

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The guano of these bats is used as fertilizer by people in some regions. These bats also feed on insects that cause extensive crop damage. (Harrison and Bates, 1991)

  • Positive Impacts
  • produces fertilizer
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no reported negative economic effects of T. nudiventris on humans.

Conservation Status

In some areas populations of T. nudiventris have declined. In 1958 the government of Israel authorized the use of ethylene-dibromide to fumigate caves inhabited by fruit bats, Rousettus aegyptiacus, because they were considered agricultural pests. Many insectivorous bats that shared the same roosts, including T. nudiventris, were harmed as a result of this campaign. This caused the population increase of a noctuid moth, which, in turn, increased crop damage. It has also been noted, in India, that the population size of this species at many of its former roosts has decreased significantly. However, because naked-rumped tomb bats are widespread and fairly common, they are considered "least concern" by the IUCN. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Makin and Mendelsson, 1985; Mickleburgh, et al., 2004)


Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

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



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

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living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.


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.

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.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.

desert or dunes

in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.


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.


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.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


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).


makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

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


active during the night

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


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


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


mature spermatozoa are stored by females following copulation. Male sperm storage also occurs, as sperm are retained in the male epididymes (in mammals) for a period that can, in some cases, extend over several weeks or more, but here we use the term to refer only to sperm storage by females.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


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

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


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


uses sight to communicate


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


Al-kuwari, , S. Kaltham. 1999. On Prosthodendrium parvouterus (Trematoda: Lecithodendriidae) a parasite of the bat Taohozous(sic) nudiventris. Qatar University Science Journal, 18: 155-158.

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

Harrison, D., P. Bates. 1991. The mammals of Arabia. Sevenoaks, Kent, England: Harrison Zoological Museum.

Kifune, T., A. Molan, I. Saeed. 1986. Trematode Parasites of Bats in Iraq. Medical Bulletin of Fukuoka University, 13/4: 323-326.

Makin, D., H. Mendelsson. 1985. Insectivorous Bats Victims of Israel Campaign. Bats, vol 2/ issue 4: 1-4.

Marinkelle, C. 1977. Trypanosoma (Herpetosoma) longiflagellum Sp.N from the tomb bat, Taphozous nudiventris, from Iraq. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 13/3: 262-264. Accessed March 20, 2006 at http://www.jwildlifedis.org/cgi/content/abstract/13/3/262.

Mickleburgh, S., A. Hutson, W. Bergmans, J. Fahr. 2004. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Taphozous nudiventris" (On-line). Accessed March 11, 2006 at http://www.redlist.org/search/details.php?species=21462.

Nader, I. "Bats of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: an update" (On-line). Accessed March 11, 2006 at http://www.saudicaves.com/saudibats.

Qumsiyeh, M. 1985. The Bats of Egypt. Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech Press.

Qumsiyeh, M., Z. Amr, R. Al-Oran. 1998. Further Record of Bats From Jordan and a Synopsis. Turkish Journal of Zoology, 22: 277-284. Accessed March 18, 2006 at http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/zoology/issues/zoo-98-22-4/zoo-22-4-2-97039.pdf.

Saoud, M., M. Ramadan. 1976. Studies on Trematodes of the Genus Lecithodendrium from some Egytpian bats with a description of two new species. Journal of Helminthology, 50/4: 281-286.

Sapkal, V., K. Kahmre. 1983. Breeding Habits and associated phenomenon in some Indian bats. Part VIII. Taphozous melanopogon (Temmink) Emballonuridae. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 80/2: 303-309. Accessed March 21, 2006 at http://searchtools.lib.umich.edu/V/BDQR336G68EU7NBN68ID7P7LU85EPIX9N3GUKDSXR87A3LG9B6-24844?func=quick-3&short-format=002&set_number=000339&set_entry=000001&format=999.