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New Bat Species Named After Bat Researcher

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Newly discovered Walston (Image credit: WCS)

He's not the Caped Crusader, but you can still call him "Batman."

Joe Walston, the director for Asia programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society, has had a new species of bat named after him in honor of his work to save bats and other wildlife in Southeast Asia. The bat, discovered in the Van Sai Protected Forests in northeastern Cambodia, is named Murina walstoni, or Walston's tube-nosed bat.

Researchers Csorba Gabor of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Nguyen Truong Son of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Ith Saveng of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and Neil Furey of Flora and Fauna International describe the new species , along with two other new bats, in a recent issue of the Journal of Mammology. They discovered the small brown-and-white bat during surveys of the forests.

Little is known about Southeast Asia's tube-nosed bats, so named for their extraordinary nostrils. Several new species have been described in recent years.

WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs Joe Walston. (Image credit: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society)

Joe Walston began studying bats in Vietnam in 1994. In 2000, he found a critically endangered bat species in Cambodia that had only been caught once before in 1912 from a cave in India nearly 2,000 miles away.

"I am flattered and humbled to have this extremely rare species named after me," Walston said in a statement. "Important research like this confirms the richness of the region for biodiversity and increases the urgency to protect wild places while there is still time."

Live Science Staff
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