Fruit Bat Crosses the Line

Top 10 – 2008

Number 6 – Fruit Bat Crosses the Line

Name: Styloctenium mindorensis

How it made the Top 10: This large and charismatic fruit bat species is known only from the Philippine island of Mindoro. It is only the second known species in the genus; the other species is known only from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and nearby Togian Islands, and was originally discovered (and named after) Alfred Russell Wallace. Wallace was a colleague of Charles Darwin and coauthor of their famous paper On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. Among other important contributions, he noted the distinctive faunal break separating Asian and Australian biotas, which is now known as Wallace’s Line. Ironically, the new species occurs on the west side of Wallace’s Line whereas its sister species is on the east side. The new species is threatened by habitat loss and hunting. Its discovery highlights an increasing understanding of endemism on Mindoro, and the need for species exploration and conservation.

Reference: Esselstyn, J.A. 2007. A new species of stripe-faced fruit bat (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae: Styloctenium) from the Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy 88: 951-958.

Type material: Currently deposited in the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, Lawrence, to be transferred to the National Museum of the Philippines, Manila.