In Brief

Badger-Like Striped Bat Discovered in South Sudan

Striped bat, South Sudan
Photographs of Niumbaha superba. (Image credit: ZooKeys)

With a badger's creamy yellow stripes and a pug's smushed muzzle, the striped bat certainly catches the eye.

One of the most boldly patterned bats in the world, according to scientists who recently captured a rare specimen in South Sudan, the striped bat now has its own genus. One step up from species, a genus is a taxonomic rank used to classify life on Earth. The last striped bat caught in Africa, in 1939, was put in the wrong genus, says a study published April 5 in the journal ZooKeys.

A Bucknell University biologist netted the rare bat in Bangangai Game Preserve in 2012, the fifth time scientists have ever captured the high-flying bat. Closer examination revealed the bat was mistakenly classified in 1939 as genus Glauconycteris. Based on live animals and museum collections, the striped bat deserves to stand alone in its own genus, Niumnaha, a local word for rare or unusual, according to the study.

Though rarely seen, the striped bat is listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning it's not threatened with extinction. The animal lives in tropical forests in South Sudan, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read more: ZooKeys

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Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.