New Zealand greater short-tailed bat
|New Zealand greater short-tailed bat|
Gray in Dieffenbach, 1843
The New Zealand greater short-tailed bat (Mystacina robusta) was one of two species of New Zealand short-tailed bats, a family (Mystacinidae) unique to New Zealand. It lived on the North and South Islands in prehistoric times and historically lived on small islands near Stewart Island/Rakiura. Short-tailed bats were as adept at scrambling along the ground as they were at flying. Their wings folded into pouches on the sides of their bodies, so the bats could race through burrows or scrub. Adult bats reached a length of 9 cm. The only known photograph shows the bat covered in dark blue fur.
When looking at this bat; there is evidence to suggest there are roughly 50 specimens left in the wild.
The greater short-tailed bat was widespread throughout New Zealand before the Māori arrived. In historic times, it used seabird burrows as roosts. It flew slowly, never rising more than two or three metres above the ground. It took nectar from flowering plants and was probably partly carnivorous, taking meat and fat off muttonbirds and eating nestling birds. The last refuges of the bat were on Solander and Big South Cape islands, but black rats arrived from fishing vessels in 1962 or 1963. The last bat seen was caught in a mist net on Solander Island in April 1967.
- Chiroptera Specialist Group (1996). Mystacina robusta. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 6 May 2006.
- A Gap in Nature by Tim Flannery and Peter Schouten (2001), published by William Heinemann
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