Christmas Island pipistrelle

The Christmas Island pipistrelle (Pipistrellus murrayi) was a species of vesper bat found only on Christmas Island, Australia. The species is now considered to be extinct, with the last individual bat seen in August 2009 with no further sightings despite intensive efforts to locate the species.[1][2][3]

Christmas Island pipistrelle

Extinct  (2016) (IUCN 3.1)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Pipistrellus
P. murrayi
Binomial name
Pipistrellus murrayi
(Andrews, 1900)

Pipistrellus tenuis murrayi

Christmas Island on the globe (Southeast Asia centered)
Location of Christmas Island in southeast Asia

Taxonomy and etymology

It was described as a new species by British paleontologist Charles William Andrews. Its species name "murrayi" was likely inspired by Sir John Murray, who helped pay for Andrews's expedition to the Christmas Islands where he described it.[4]

It has sometimes been considered synonymous with Pipistrellus tenuis;[5][6] however, revisions of the genus based on baculum identified Pipistrellus murrayi as a distinct species.[7][8] This was supported by genetic work conducted for the Australian Government as part of its investigation into the decline of Christmas Island ecology and the pipistrelle in mid-2009; the results of this analysis indicate that the Christmas Island Pipistrelle was closely related to but distinct from other Asian pipistrelles.[9]


It was a small bat weighing around 3–4.5 g (0.11–0.16 oz). It had dark brown fur,[10] with the tips of its hairs yellowish.[4] Its forearm was 30–33 mm (1.2–1.3 in) long. It was the smallest described species of bat in Australia.[10] Its ears were triangular and rounded at the tips. Its uropatagium had a distinct calcar. Its tail protruded very slightly (2 mm (0.079 in)) past the uropatagium. The length of its head and body was 35–40 mm (1.4–1.6 in) long; its tail was 30–31 mm (1.2–1.2 in) long; its ear was 9–11 mm (0.35–0.43 in); its hind foot was 6–8 mm (0.24–0.31 in) long.[4]


This species fed on insects and roosted in tree hollows and decaying vegetation.[11][12]

Decline and extinction

The Christmas Island pipistrelle declined dramatically from 1990.[13] It was once commonly seen throughout the island including in the settlement.[14]

A reassessment of the number of individuals remaining in January 2009 suggested there may have been as few as 20 individuals left. The only known communal roost contained only four individuals. Three years before, there had been 54 individuals in this colony and there were several other known, similar-sized colonies. Monitoring in early 2009 showed that some bats survived in the wild, prompting the Australian government to announce on 1 July 2009, that it would attempt to rescue the bat by bringing the last remaining individuals into captivity, with assistance of volunteer bat researchers from the Australasian Bat Society.[15][16] In early August 2009 Australian Government gave permission to capture the bats to establish a captive breeding program. However, after four weeks of surveying located only a single bat through its echolocation. Researchers were unable to catch it and the last echolocation call of this bat was recorded on August 26, 2009, when it went silent. On 8 September 2009, the Australian Government announced that attempts to capture the bats had failed. No Christmas Island pipistrelles have been seen or heard since, and it is believed the species is now extinct.[1][17][18] It is believed to be the first mammal extinction in Australia in 50 years.[19]

Cause of decline

The cause of the Christmas Island pipistrelle's decline is unknown. Several potential threats have been suggested: predation or disturbance at roost sites, and disease.[13] Introduced species such as the common wolf snake, giant centipede[20] yellow crazy ant, black rat or feral cats have all been identified as potential suspects responsible for the decline either through predation or disturbance of the bats. It has also been speculated that an unidentified health threat, or poisoning from the insecticide Fipronil used to control yellow crazy ant 'supercolonies' could be responsible for the decline.[9][13]


  1. ^ a b c Lumsden, L., Racey, P.A. & Hutson, A.M. 2017. Pipistrellus murrayi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T136769A518894. Downloaded on 30 December 2018.
  2. ^ Flannery, Tim (17 November 2012). "Unmourned death of a sole survivor". The Sydney Morning Herald - Environment. Fairfax. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  3. ^ "News at a glance". Science. 357 (6357). Christmas Island bat is officially no more. 22 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Andrews, C. W. (1900). A Monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). Printed by order of the Trustees. pp. 26–28.
  5. ^ Koopman, KF (1973). "Systematics of Indo-Australian pipistrelles". Periodicum Biologorum. 75: 113–116.
  6. ^ Koopman, KF (1993). "Order Chiroptera". In Wilson, DE; Reeder, DM (eds.). Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 137–241.
  7. ^ Kitchener, DJ; Caputi, N; Jones, B (1986). "Revision of the Australo-Papuan Pipistrellus and Falsistrellus (Microchiroptera: Vespertilionidae)". Records of the Western Australian Museum. 12: 435–495.
  8. ^ Hill, J.E; Harrison, D.L. (30 July 1987). "The baculum in the Vespertilioninae (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) with a systematic review, a synopsis of Pipistrellus and Eptesicus, and the descriptions of a new genus and subgenus". Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). 52: 225–305. ISSN 0007-1498.
  9. ^ a b Christmas Island Expert Working Group to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts (July 2009). Revised Interim Report (PDF).
  10. ^ a b Department of the Environment (2018). "Pipistrellus murrayi — Christmas Island Pipistrelle". Department of the Environment, Canberra. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  11. ^ Schulz, M; Lumsden, L (2004). National Recovery Plan for the Christmas Island Pipistrelle Pipistrellus murrayi. Department of Environment and Heritage. ISBN 978-0-642-55012-5.
  12. ^ van Dyck, S.; Strahan, R, eds. (2008). The Mammals of Australia.
  13. ^ a b c Lumsden, L; Schulz, M; Ashton, R; D, Middleton (2007). Investigation of threats to the Christmas Island Pipistrelle. A report to the Department of the Environment and Water Resources. Heidelberg, Victoria: Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment.
  14. ^ Tidemann, C (1985). A study of the status, habitat requirements and management of the two species of bats on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). Canberra: Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.
  15. ^ Galvin, Nick (16 February 2009). "Garrett goes in to bat for species on sticky wicket". The Sydney Morning Herald - Environment. Fairfax. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  16. ^ Garrett, Peter; Snowdon, Warren (1 July 2009). "Christmas Island Ecosystem Rescue" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  17. ^ Kamenev, Marina (9 December 2009). "Should Wild Animals Become Pets to Ward Off Extinction?". Time.
  18. ^ Hance, Jeremy (23 May 2012). "Island bat goes extinct after Australian officials hesitate". Mongabay.
  19. ^ Martin, T. G.; Nally, S.; Burbidge, A. A.; Arnall, S.; Garnett, S. T.; Hayward, M. W.; Possingham, H. P. (2012). "Acting fast helps avoid extinction". Conservation Letters. 4 (5): 274–280. doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00239.x.
  20. ^ "Scolopendra morsitans". CSIRO.
African yellow bat

The African yellow bat (Scotophilus dinganii) is a species of bat in the family Vespertilionidae, the vesper bats. Other common names include African yellow house bat, yellow-bellied house bat, and Dingan's Bat. It is one of fifteen species in the genus Scotophilus.


Arielulus is a genus of vesper bats with the following species, sometimes in Pipistrellus:

Genus Arielulus

Collared pipistrelle (A. aureocollaris)

Black-gilded pipistrelle (A. circumdatus)

Coppery pipistrelle (A. cuprosus)

Social pipistrelle (A. societatis)

Necklace pipistrelle (A. torquatus)


Barbastella is a small genus of vespertilionid bats. There are five described species in this genus.


Eptesicus is a genus of bats, commonly called house bats or serotine bats, in the family Vespertilionidae.The 25 species within this genus are:

Little black serotine (Eptesicus andinus)

Bobrinski's serotine (Eptesicus bobrinskoi)

Botta's serotine (Eptesicus bottae)

Brazilian brown bat (Eptesicus brasiliensis)

Chiriquinan serotine (Eptesicus chiriquinus)

Diminutive serotine (Eptesicus diminutus)

Surat serotine (Eptesicus dimissus)

Horn-skinned bat (Eptesicus floweri)

Argentine brown bat (Eptesicus furinalis)

Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

Gobi big brown bat (Eptesicus gobiensis)

Guadeloupe big brown bat (Eptesicus guadeloupensis)

Long-tailed house bat (Eptesicus hottentotus)

Harmless serotine (Eptesicus innoxius)

Meridional serotine (Eptesicus isabellinus)

Japanese short-tailed bat (Eptesicus japonensis)

Kobayashi's bat (Eptesicus kobayashii)

Eptesicus lobatus

Jamaican serotine (Eptesicus lynni)

Sind bat (Eptesicus nasutus)

Northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii)

Thick-eared bat (Eptesicus pachyotis)

Lagos serotine (Eptesicus platyops)

Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus)

Eptesicus taddeii

Sombre bat (Eptesicus tatei)

Greenish yellow bat

The greenish yellow bat (Scotophilus viridis) is a species of vesper bat. It is found in Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitats are dry and moist savanna.

Grey long-eared bat

The grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus) is a fairly large European bat. It has distinctive ears, long and with a distinctive fold. It hunts above woodland, often by day, and mostly for moths. It is extremely similar to the more common brown long-eared bat, and was only distinguished in the 1960s, but has a paler belly.

Harlequin bat

The harlequin bat (Scotomanes ornatus) is a species of bat in the family Vespertilionidae, the vesper bats. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Scotomanes.

This bat is found in south-eastern Asia from India to China and Vietnam.This is a common and widespread species. It lives in forests and caves and roosts in trees.


The genus Hypsugo contains many bats referred to as pipistrelles or pipistrelle bats. They belong to the family Vespertilionidae or vesper bats within the order Chiroptera.


Laephotis is a genus of bats in the family Vespertilionidae. Species within this genus are:

Angolan long-eared bat (Laephotis angolensis)

Botswanan long-eared bat (Laephotis botswanae)

Namib long-eared bat (Laephotis namibensis)

De Winton's long-eared bat (Laephotis wintoni)

Lindy Lumsden

Lindy Lumsden (born 1955) is a principal research scientist with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, in Melbourne, Australia.

List of extinct animals of Australia

Following is a list of Australian animal extinctions from the arrival of the first European colonists in 1788, until the present. There are 24 birds (though just 1 from the mainland), 7 frogs, and 27 mammal species or subspecies strongly believed to have become extinct in Australia since European settlement.

Extinctions are recorded under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Several invertebrate species have also been listed as extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); however, this list is less exhaustive, as invertebrates are more difficult to survey and are less well studied.

List of mammals of Christmas Island

This is a list of the mammal species recorded on Christmas Island. The island had five native and endemic land mammal species, of which four are now presumed to be extinct. In addition, five exotic wild mammals have been introduced to Christmas Island.


Nyctalus is a genus of vespertilionid bats commonly known as the noctule bats. They are distributed in the temperate and subtropical areas of Europe, Asia and North Africa.

There are eight species within this genus:

Birdlike noctule, Nyctalus aviator

Azores noctule, Nyctalus azoreum

Japanese noctule, Nyctalus furvus

Greater noctule bat, Nyctalus lasiopterus

Lesser noctule, Nyctalus leisleri

Mountain noctule, Nyctalus montanus

Common noctule, Nyctalus noctula

Chinese noctule, Nyctalus plancyi


For the light aircraft manufacturer, see Pipistrel.

Pipistrellus is a genus of bats in the family Vespertilionidae and subfamily Vespertilioninae. The name of the genus is derived from the Italian word pipistrello, meaning "bat" (from Latin vespertilio "bird of evening, bat").

The size of the genus has been considerably reduced as a result of work during the 1990s and 2000s, with genera such as Arielulus, Hypsugo, Falsistrellus, Neoromicia, Parastrellus, Perimyotis, Scotozous, and Vespadelus being split off. Still, molecular evidence suggests the genus is not monophyletic. Several other genera in the subfamily Vespertilioninae have also been merged with Pipistrellus in previous classifications. Species in the genus may be referred to as "pipistrelles" or "pipistrelle bats", though these terms are also used for species now placed in other genera, such as the western pipistrelle (Parastrellus hesperus) and eastern pipistrelle (Perimyotis subflavus) of North America. Species of the southern hemisphere separated to genus Falsistrellus are sometimes referred to as 'false pipistrelle' or 'falsistrelle'.They are somewhat distinguished from their much larger relatives, the noctule bats Nyctalus by their weak, fluttery flight reminiscent of a butterfly, though a few species are more direct in their flight.


The genus Plecotus consists of the long-eared bats. Many species in the genus have only been described and recognized in recent years.

Rendall's serotine

Rendall's serotine (Neoromicia rendalli) is a species of vesper bat.

It is found in Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Its natural habitats are dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and subtropical or tropical moist shrubland.

It is threatened by habitat loss.


Scotoecus is a genus of bats in the family Vespertilionidae.


The Vespertilioninae are a subfamily of vesper bats from the family Vespertilionidae.

Yellow serotine

The yellow serotine (Neoromicia flavescens) is a species of vesper bat.

It is found in Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Malawi, and Mozambique.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, dry savanna, and moist savanna.

Species of subfamily Vespertilioninae


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