A “very rare” bat species was discovered in Corsica, the birthplace of former French emperor and military commander Napoleon Bonaparte, according to a study by researchers earlier this year. The winged, hairy creature was found lurking in the mountainous Mediterranean island. It is located 250 miles southeast of the French port city of Marseille.
Scientists identify that the creature of belonging to an endangered species of bat under a previously unknown species in the genus Myptis; which includes more than 120 species distributed across the world’s continents except Antarctica. The discovery if the Corsica bat comes as thousands of new species are found each year.
Very Rare Bat in Corsica
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The findings about the very rare bat in Corsica was published as a study in the journal Swiss Journal of Zoology (Revue Suisse de Zoologie) in October 2023, where researchers found a newly described and endangered new mammal species that is endemic to Corsica.
The Myotis nattereri species complex has been a focus of several recent morphological and molecular surveys to determine the species status of different named forms.
These forms include three informally referred Myotis species labelled as Myotis sp. A, M. sp. B and M. sp. C, which are abbreviations of M. crypticus and M. zenatius. Among this group, Myotis sp. C is only known from Corsica, according to the research paper.
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Field Survey and DNA Analyses
The researchers involved in the study collected specimens of the bat species while conducting field survey and they performed DNA analyses on available tissue samples. This process allowed the scientific team to link the mystery bat to the genus Myptis that was mentioned earlier.
The scientists provided the very rare bat with the common name of “nustrale,” which translates to “ours” in the local Corsican dialect. Furthermore, the newfound creature has been likely “genetically isolated” for a long time, according to the report. The study describes the animal as a medium-sized bat, measuring around 1.5 inches long.
Since the bat is endemic to the French island, researchers said that the creature is uncommon and is essentially localized to mountain forests. In this context, the survival and isolation of the winged mammal can be linked to the relative distance of Corsica to mainland France and Italy.
However, Corsica is not entirely remote since its human inhabitants are estimated to be approximately 350,000 individuals as of 2022, according to the World Population Review.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, there are around 1,400 bat species across the world and bats can be found in most parts of the planet except in environments located in extreme desert and polar regions.
While bats are a significant part of the ecosystem, the nocturnal animals are also known for harboring dangerous pathogens, including viruses and other emerging infectious diseases, according to scientists. In recent years, research has linked the origin of the virus that causes COVID-19 to bats.
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