Mouse-eared bat

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Mouse-eared bats
Myotis mystacinus.jpg
Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Subfamily: Myotinae
Tate, 1942
Genus: Myotis
Kaup, 1829
Type species
Vespertilio myotis
Borkhausen, 1797

See text

The mouse-eared bats (Myotis) are a diverse and widespread genus of bats within the family Vespertilionidae.


Myotis has historically been included in the subfamily Vespertilioninae, but was classified in its own subfamily, Myotinae, by Nancy Simmons in 1998. In her 2005 classification in Mammal Species of the World, Simmons listed the genera Cistugo and Lasionycteris in Myotinae in addition to Myotis itself.[1] However, molecular data indicate that Cistugo is distantly related to all other Vespertilionidae, so that it was reclassified into its own family Cistugidae,[2] and that Lasionycteris belongs in Vespertilioninae.[3] Thus, Myotis is the only remaining genus within Myotinae.[3]

Appearance and behavior[edit]

Ears are normally longer than they are wide, with a long and lance-shaped tragus, and thence the English and zoological names (in Greek, myotis and myosotis mean "mouse-ear"). The species within this genus vary in size from very large to very small for vesper bats, with a single pair of mammary glands.

Mouse-eared bats are generally insectivores. M. vivesi, as well as several members of the trawling bat subgenus Leuconoe, have relatively large feet with long toes, and will take small fish from the water surface (they also take insects).[4]


Myotis species are remarkably long-lived for their size; in 2018, researchers at University College Dublin revealed that a longitudinal study appears to indicate that Myotis telomeres do not shrink with age, and that telomerase does not appear to be present in the Myotis metabolism.[5][6]



Myotis latirostris

Most Old World species

Most Nearctic species

Myotis brandtii

Neotropical and some Nearctic species

Relationships among Myotis species according to molecular data[7]

Traditionally, Myotis has been divided into three large subgenera—Leuconoe, Myotis, and Selysius. However, molecular data indicate that these subgenera are not natural groups, but instead unnatural assemblages of convergently similar species.[8] Instead, Myotis species largely fall in two main clades, one containing Old World and the other New World species.[7] However, the Asian species Myotis latirostris falls outside the clade formed by these main groups, and may represent a separate genus,[9] and the Eurasian Myotis brandtii is related to New World species.[10]

Myotis is a highly species-rich genus, and the classification of many species remains unsettled. In the below list, all differences in taxonomy from the 2005 third edition of Mammal Species of the World,[11] are indicated in footnotes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Split from M. nigricans (Moratelli et al., 2017).
  2. ^ Split from M. mystacinus (Mayer et al., 2007).
  3. ^ A new species (Happold, 2005).
  4. ^ Split from M. nattereri (Ibáñez et al., 2006).
  5. ^ Split from M. formosus (Jiang et al., 2010).
  6. ^ Split from M. brandtii (Ohdachi et al., The Wild Mammals of Japan, 2009).
  7. ^ Split from M. muricola (Stadelmann et al., 2007).
  8. ^ Split from M. daubentonii (Matveev et al., 2005). Includes M. abei (Tsytsulina, 2004, as daubentonii).
  9. ^ A new species (Borisenko et al., 2008).
  10. ^ Split from M. adversus (Han et al., 2010).


  1. ^ Simmons, 2005, p. 499
  2. ^ Lack et al., 2010
  3. ^ a b Roehrs et al., 2010
  4. ^ Levin, E.; A. Barnea; Y. Yovel; and Y. Yom-Tov (2006). Have introduced fish initiated piscivory among the long-fingered bat? Mammalian Biology 71(3): 139–143.
  5. ^ Growing old, yet staying young: The role of telomeres in bats’ exceptional longevity, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aao0926
  6. ^ These Bats Don't Seem to Die of Old Age—Can They Help Extend the Human Lifespan?, by Kate Lunau, at Vice; published February 7, 2018; retrieved June 12, 2018
  7. ^ a b Stadelmann et al., 2007, fig. 2; Lack et al., 2010, figs. 1, 2
  8. ^ Simmons, 2005, p. 500
  9. ^ Lack et al., 2010, p. 984
  10. ^ Stadelmann et al., 2007, fig. 2
  11. ^ Simmons, 2005, pp. 500–518

Literature cited[edit]

External links[edit]