Bats of the World Database

Bats of the World Database –

In July 2019 I attended the 18th International Bat Research Conference (IBRC 2019) in Phuket, Thailand (an hour’s drive from my house so logistics was minimal). Nancy Simmons gave a talk on the “Bats of the World Database” (the abstract copied below) which I had not used before and appears to be a very useful resource. Besides a quick look in January I have neglected to use it since but this database is back on my radar now that I am “virus sheltering” in California and my copy of Handbook of the Mammals of the World Vol 9 Chiroptera (HMW9) is in Thailand.

Some examples of some changes/differences in Bats of the World Database (BOW) compared to HMW9 include:

  • Myonycteris angolensis (BOW) vs Lissonycteris angolensis (HMW).
  • For the genus Doryrhina: BOW recognises one species (cyclops) whereas HBMW9 recognises about eight species; BOW retaining Hipposideros as genus for the others e.g. Hipposideros corynophyllus (BOW) vs Doryrhina corynophyllus (HMW).
  • A search for the genus Stenonycteris resulted in “2 species-level matches” listed as: (1) Rousettus madagascariensis G. Grandidier, 1928. and (2) Stenonycteris lanosus Thomas, 1906. This might indicate that “Rousettus madagascariensis” might change to “Stenonycteris madagascariensis”?

Paul Carter


Abstract: Bats of the World: A New Taxonomic and Geographic Database

Nancy Simmons and Andrea Cirranello

Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

The last comprehensive list of chiropteran species published in Mammal Species of the World in 2005 recognized 1,116 bat species. Although this represented a significant increase over previous tallies, known bat species diversity has continued to climb since that time, with ~1,400 valid species now recognized. Similarly, our understanding of the geographic ranges of many species has continued to change with new revisions and inventories. Researchers in diverse fields ranging from evolutionary biology to ecology and conservation need access to up-to-date information on bat species diversity, taxonomy, and geographic ranges to inform research and management decisions. Although definitive published volumes are desirable for many reasons, the modern digital age provides an alternative: a citable online database. With ongoing input from the Global Bat Taxonomy Working Group of the IUCN Bat Specialist Group, we have accordingly launched a new database at that provides basic information on every valid bat species currently recognized. Long entries are available for many species and include name, authority, citation, common name, synonyms, type locality, distribution, map, threat status, comments, and references. Short entries (including name, authority, citation and common name) are provided for taxa that we have not yet fully finished revising and updating. We hope to upgrade all of the short entries to long entries over the next year. Once all the original entries have been revised, the website will be updated biannually. This database has the advantage over other online sources in that it is fully vetted by experts in bat taxonomy.

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