Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Cuban Pallid bat Antrozous koopmani

Cuba has an endemic Pallid bat:  Antrozous koopmani, a species named in honor of the great bat zoologist, the late Karl Koopman. I posted a similar post on the Cubabat Facebook page, and the post was so successful, that I thought may be interesting in reposting an edited version here.

There are currently two species of Pallid bats, Antrozous pallidus and Antrozous koopmani, of the Vespertilionidae family. Antrozous pallidus has a range that extends from southern British Columbia, south to the coastal states east of Kansas, and down to Queretaro, Mexico with an insular population on Maria Magdalena Island, Nayarit. And A. koopmani an endemic species to the island of Cuba.

Drawing of one of Ramsden's Oriente specimens figured in Dr. G. Silva's
masterpiece Los Murcielagos de Cuba (1979). 

This insular and distinct population of Antrozous was not detected until 1920 when C. T. Ramsden acquires two specimens in Oriente province, eastern Cuba. One was caught at Caney, another from Guantanamo. This feat was not again repeated until the Drs. Gilberto Silva-Taboada and Karl Koopman captured another living specimen in 1956, on the foothill forests of Pan de Guajaibon in Pinar del Rio, western Cuba. The Ramsden specimens are the only known skin-preserved-specimens known to date.

Antrozous skull and dentary: Antrozous koopmani on the left, and
Antrozous pallidus (AMNH 2125) on the right.
The A. koopmani is from fossil site at Palenque Hill, Mayabeqye, Cuba.

In the upcoming years, however, several skeletal remains were recovered from fresh owl pellets in several caves in western Cuba. Robert T. Orr and Gilberto Silva used this material in the official description of the Cuban pallid bat Antrozous koopmani as an endemic species of the island of Cuba in 1960.

Today, the species has been reported from several fossil deposits in most provinces of western Cuba: Pinar del Rio, Mayabeque, Matanzas, and Sancti Spiritus. Which suggests that the species had a much wider distribution on the island during the Recent past, that could have lasted until several hundred years ago.

Antrozous koopmani is today Cuba’s rarest bat. It has not been captured alive again, at least with certainty, since 1956, and is now presumed extinct.

Please  visit Proyecto Cubabat's page to see the original post and many others there.