One-fifth of all mammals in Australia are MICROBATS, a tiny species of bat that measure between one- and six-inches and lives on a diet of mosquitoes, moths, and weevils
- A report from the Australian bush claim that one in five mammals are microbats
- Microbats are one of the most diverse bush animals, with 60 different types
- Researchers are recruiting locals to place monitoring devices in their yards
- They hope audio recordings of the nocturnal creatures will teach them more about the creatures social habits
A new report on the wildlife in Australia has found that one of the country’s most populous mammals is also one of its most easily missed: the microbat.
According to researchers at the Mallee Catchment Management Authority, microbats make up 20 percent of all the country’s mammals.
Microbats are one of the country’s most diverse group of mammals, with more than 60 different species, 14 of which can be found in the plentiful bush country in Australian state of Victoria where the Mallee CMA operates.
According to a new report, microbats account for one in every five mammals in Australia
‘That sort of diversity we don’t see with any other mammals in the bush,’ researcher Susan Saris told Australia’s ABC News.
‘So that is amazing, and yet people don’t even realize they live there.’
True to their name, microbats are tiny and delicate creatures that typically weigh no more than a tenth of a pound and range in size from one to six inches.
Microbats subsist mainly on insects like mosquitoes, grub moths, grain weevils, and flying termites, something that’s earned them the affectionate nickname of nature’s pest control.
During the summer months, the nocturnal creatures enter a frenzied state of binge eating, part of a drive to put on as much weight as possible to better survive the winter months when insect populations are sparse.
The tiny animals feed on insects and spend the summer months gorging as much as possible to prepare for the winter when food is sparse
WHAT ARE MICROBATS?
Microbats, or microchioptera, are a suborder of ordinary bats.
They can range in length from one to six inches and typically weigh no more than one tenth of a pound.
The majority of the world’s bat population are actually microbats, or around 70 percent.
There are 60 different kinds of microbat, and they have been found in every region of the world except for Antarctica and the Arctic Circle.
The Mallee CMA conduct regular events to help educate locals about microbats, including walking tours through the bush country where they are often found.
The group has also encouraged locals to help them gather data on microbat populations.
They offer to lend out tracking devices called anabats, which record acoustic signals that can be used to identify specific bat calls.
‘Tie it to a tree, or to a fence, and leave it out there for two nights and it will record the specific noises that the microbats make,’ Saris said.
Though sometimes compared to mice or other small rodents, microbats, like their larger relatives, are their own species and have no relation to rodents.