Scotophilus leucogaster (Cretzschmarı 1830)

Benda, P., Kasso, M., Nicolas, V., Pleurdeau, D., Stoetzel, E., Workalemahu, S., Bekele, A. & Denys, C., 2019, New data on bats from Dire Dawa regionı eastern Ethiopiaı with the first record of Rhinopoma microphyllum in the country, Journal of Natural History 53 (41), pp. 2579-2590: 2587

publication ID 10.1080/00222933.2019.1705416


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Scotophilus leucogaster (Cretzschmarı 1830)


Scotophilus leucogaster (Cretzschmarı 1830)   – white-bellied house bat

Material. 1 ♀ ad (DDW05), Dire Dawa, at the Lega Hare River , 09°36 ʹ N, 41°53 ʹ E, 1212 m a. s. l., 18/11/2017. GoogleMaps  

A female of the white-bellied house bat was caught in an agricultural area adjacent to Dire Dawa town. This species is rare in Ethiopia, verified records are available only from the western part of the country ( Largen et al. 1974; Robbins et al. 1985). In the eastern part of the Chercher Mountains, including Dire Dawa area, only the larger and brighter species S. colias Thomas, 1904 has been reported ( Robbins et al. 1985, sensu Vallo et al. 2011). However, the identification of the newly recorded Dire Dawa bat as S. leucogaster   is clear from its rather small body and skull size fitting to the genetically identified samples by Vallo et al. (2019). Measurements of this specimen are as follows: weight 18 g, head and body length 83 mm, tail length 55 mm, forearm length 50 mm, ear length 16 mm, tragus length 9 mm, largest skull length 18.82 mm, condylobasal length 17.44 mm, zygomatic width 13.36 mm, neurocranium width 9.31 mm, neurocranium height 7.68 mm, length of upper tooth-row 6.52 mm.

Although this new record significantly enlarges the distribution range of S. leucogaster   in Ethiopia, the extent of the whole species range is not really affected; this bat is known to occur in the whole savannah belt of northern part of Africa and south-western Arabia, including most of the countries surrounding Ethiopia, like Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Kenya, Somalia or Yemen ( Robbins et al. 1985; Vallo et al. 2011; Lanza et al. 2015).

Considering the measurement values given (forearm length 48.6 mm, upper tooth-row length 6.7 mm) and pale colouration description, the Scotophilus specimen collected by Lavrenchenko et al. (2010) in the Babile Elephant Sanctuary, some 80 – 90 km south-east of Dire Dawa, and reported as S. cf. dinganii (Smith, 1833), could belong to S. leucogaster   . Such a record there could be regarded as more possible in light of our finding from Dire Dawa. However, the detailed skull examination and/or genetic comparison is necessary to solve the identification of the concerned bat.