Hipposideros commersoni (Sabatier & Legendre, 1985)

Goodman, Steven M., Schoeman, M. Corrie, Rakotoarivelo, Andrinajoro & Willows-Munro, Sandi, 2016, How many species of Hipposideros have occurred on Madagascar since the Late Pleistocene?, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 177 (2), pp. 428-449 : 443-444

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.1111/zoj.12368



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scientific name

Hipposideros commersoni





Adult female, FMNH 175970, collected 9.xii.2002 by S. M. Goodman (field number SMG 13399). The specimen was conserved in 12% formaldehyde and subsequently transferred to 70% ethanol. Before preservation, the skull was removed via small incisions on both sides of the mouth, conserved in 60% ethanol, and then cleaned by dermestid beetles. The skull is in good condition, with the exception of the medial portion of the left upper canine being cracked. Samples of pectoral muscle were collected and saved in lysis buffer. The specimen, with a full adult dentition and the basisphenoid–basioccipital suture completely fused, had large mammae, an enlarged embryo (crown– rump length of 43 mm), and enlarged pubic nipples (see Simmons, 1993). External measurements: total length 123 mm, tail length 34 mm, hindfoot length (without claws) 15 mm, ear length 27 mm, forearm length 80 mm, and body mass 55 g (including 12.5 g embryo) ( Table 2). Information associated with the specimen includes ‘Netted over Sahanafa River in gallery forest’.

Type locality

Madagascar: Province de Fianarantsoa, Parc National de l’Isalo, along Sahanafa River, near foot of Bevato , 28 km south-east of Berenty-Betsileo , 22°19.0′S, 45°17.6′E, 550 m a.s.l. This is the same site as the neotype of H. commersoni (clade B, FMNH 175972 View Materials ) GoogleMaps .


The only other individual amongst the sequenced animals that grouped with clade A, H. cryptovalorona , is FMNH 184173 View Materials (field number SMG 14582). This animal was obtained in Madagascar: Province de Toliara, Grotte d’Androimpano, 4.2 km north-east of Itampolo (village), on old road to Ejeda , 24°39.012′S, 43°57.797′E, 110 m a.s.l. This specimen was obtained ‘in disturbed spiny bush along western escarpment of Mahafaly Plateau. Captured at rim of sink hole’ GoogleMaps .


The name cryptovalorona is derived from the Greek ‘ kryptos ’, meaning hidden or concealed, and from the Sakalava dialect of Malagasy ‘ valorona ’, which is the local vernacular name of Hipposideros and refers to its distinct nasal structure, and can be translated as ‘eight nose’, referring to the complicated and multiple layers of the nose structure.

Diagnosis and description

This is a large-bodied hipposiderid bat known from two specimens, the holotype ( FMNH 175970 View Materials ) and paratype ( FMNH 184173 View Materials ), both of which are female and with a forearm length of 80–81 mm ( Table 2). On the basis of external characters, this species is either smaller than or towards the minimum range values for H. commersoni (clades B and C) .

The non-attached ears have pointed and rounded tips and are narrow at the base, similar to H. commersoni . In H. cryptovalorona a small section of tail (3–4 mm) protrudes from the uropatagium. The noseleaf is large and not particularly elaborate compared with other African and Asian members of the genus. It has a small internarial septum and three lateral leaflets, the innermost with median emargination. Anterior portion of noseleaf with three cells separated by two distinct septa and without thickened emargination or lateral process; in all cases these characters are similar to the neotype of H. commersoni (FMNH 175972).

Pelage in holotype is relatively dense and short, with the dorsum having a slightly shaggy appearance. The back fur is a medium light brown with the middorsal portion showing a slightly grizzled coloration, and ventrum slightly lighter and tending towards tanbrown. The paratype is distinctly darker in coloration than the holotype, particularly the dorsum with certain fur having a dark brown appearance. Both specimens have distinct white fur patches on the shoulders. The wing and tail membranes in FMNH 175970 are pale brown and in FMNH 184173 distinctly dark brown. The neotype of H. commersoni cannot be differentiated in plumage coloration and texture from the holotype of H. cryptovalorona .

The skull of H. cryptovalorona is large, with prominent lambdoid and sagittal crests and with a greatest skull length of 26.5–27.4 mm ( Table 3); these measurements show some overlap with the minimum values of clade B and are smaller than clade C of H. commersoni ( Table 3). The same pattern exists in the other cranial measurements between H. cryptovalorona and H. commersoni , although with the exception of postorbital breadth there is no overlap between the new species and clade C ( Table 3). The greatest zygomatic breadth is wider than the mastoid breath. The jugal has a well-developed dorsal projection. The rostrum of H. cryptovalorona has a distinct frontal depression and the anterior portion is laterally inflated.

The various dental measurements of H. cryptovalorona presented in Table 4 show broad overlap with H. commersoni but tend to be smaller, falling within the range of lower values of clade B and showing no overlap with clade C. Upper incisors widely separat- ed. Upper canines with a groove running the anterolateral length of the tooth and with a prominent posterior cusp positioned at approximately half the tooth length. The first upper premolar (P 2) is greatly reduced and is in direct contact with the canine and the next premolar (P 4).

Common name

We propose for this new species the English vernacular name Madagascar cryptic leaf-nosed bat and the French vernacular name La Phyllorhine cryptique de Madagascar.

Molecular genetics

The independently evolving H. cryptovalorona lineage is diagnosable primarily using molecular data. The average Cyt b GTR + I + G genetic distance between clade A and other H. commersoni (clades B and C) is 9–11%. The results from this study also suggest that clade A is not closely related to the other Madagascar Hipposideros , with the phylogenetic analysis placing clade A in close association with the African taxa H. gigas and H. vittatus . Further analysis will need to be conducted to determine the phylogenetic position of this new species within the genus.

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