One bat, two bat, yellow bat…yellow bat?

A photograph of a yellow house bat
One type of Yellow House Bat. Photo by Susan Ellis at bugwood.org.

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. I have had another nice and relaxing one. As I was looking for batty news, I stumbled upon a really interesting article.

A research team in Kenya was studying African Yellow House Bats. There are 21 known species of African Yellow House Bats and the scientists were trying to accurately classify all the species when they made an amazing discovery. They believe they have discovered two new species of these bats!

House Bats get their name from the fact that they like to roost in urban environments, but they are still very difficult to catch and study. Scientists knew there were different kinds because, while most of them have distinctive yellow bellies, some have brown or orange ones. Other than that, their physical differences are difficult to distinguish.

Using skin samples, scientists analyzed the DNA of 100 bats in Kenya. They compared the samples to the bats in their genetic database and developed an African House Bat family tree. The new family tree helped organize the bats and showed that there are two distinct genetic lineages.

Even though it is almost certain that these two bat species are new, researchers still have to show that they exhibit unique features, both physically and behaviorally, before they can officially be classified as new species.

If you would like to read more about this exciting news, you can find information here.

I hope everyone has a good week. Happy Bastille Day to everyone in France!

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