Nyctophilus major

Nyctophilus major, referred to as a western long-eared bat, is a species found in forests and woodlands of Southwest Australia.

Nyctophilus major
Nyctophilus major - 1700-1880 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam - UBA01 IZ20700133
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Nyctophilus
N. major
Binomial name
Nyctophilus major

Nyctophilus timoriensis major Gray, 1844.[2]


A population once described as subspecies Nyctophilus timoriensis major, placed with Nyctophilus timoriensis, a taxon which was revised and separated when it was found to contain cryptic species. The first description was published by John Edward Gray in 1844.[1] A revision of the genus in 2009 elevated the taxon to species.[3][4]

A treatment describing subspecies separates a population as Nyctophilus major tor, which had been referred to as the "central long-eared bat Nyctophilus sp. 1". The revision by Parnaby (2009) considered the status as a species for populations that are sometimes sympatric, but could not disregard the size variation as environmentally influenced. The distinction of the subspecies, more evident in the females, requires clarification by DNA sequencing.[5] The nominate subspecies Nyctophilus major major is recognised for a population restricted to the southwest corner of Australia, N. major tor is found in wider distribution to the north and east of this.[6]

Common names for the species include western, central or greater 'long-eared bat'.[4] The field worker John Gilbert carefully recorded local names in his notes, derived from the Nyungar language, and this was later reported in Gould's Mammals of Australia (1863). The common name bam-be, in the vicinity of the Swan River Colony (Perth, Toodjay), and bar-ba-lon at King George Sound (vicinity of Albany) were given to Nyctophilus sp. in the Southwest of Australia. However, this name was likely applied to any of the several insectivorous bat species of the region.[7] Gould noted the variant spelling as "native name: bam-ba", contradicting Gilberts note, and applied the common name western nyctophilus to the species. Gould compared his specimen, obtained in Perth, with the type for N. timoriensis in Paris and concluded they were the same species; the type was assumed to have been mislabelled as originating in Timor and produced the erroneous epithet.[8]


A small bat, although one of several larger species of the genus Nyctophilus, which is allied with the family Vespertilionidae. The ears are close to 30 mm in length, proportionally large for the size of the animal, and distinctly ribbed at the interior. The nose has a small leaf-shaped protuberance, simple in its details and lacking a Y-shape feature found in similar bats. The interfemoral membrane completely covers the tail. The fur at the back has an orange tinge to darker brown-grey colour, the ventral side is lighter.[9] The length of the forearm is 38 to 48 millimetres, the weight range for both sexes of the species M. Major, is 9 to 20 grams.[10]

The measurements range or average weight and lengths, in grams (g) and millimetres (mm), for the two subspecies are,[11]

  • M. major major (nominate subspecies): the forearm is 42.5–48.4 mm and weight range 12–16.5 g, the females smaller than males. The combined head-body length is 65, tibia 50, and the ear length, the distance from the ear notch to its point, is 24.4–28.6.[11]
  • M. major tor (widespread subspecies): forearm 37.6–45.2, head-body 58, tibia 47, ear length 21.3–27.5 and weight range is 8.0–12.3 g, males are again larger than females.[11]


The species is similar in size and superficial features to the other larger Nyctophilus species, the tasmanian N. sherrini and southeastern N. corbeni.[10] They most closely resemble the northern N. daedalus, although the fur is sandy coloured and lighter; close examination of will diagnose this species by the slightly greater width of the outer canines.[11]

They forage for insect prey in the air and, as suggested by their capture in pit traps, also at ground level.[12][9] The species flight is similar to some birds, using a fluttering action. The large ears, apart from the usual function in echolocation, also provide directional assistance as rudders while flying.[9]

Nyctophilus major possess the ability to enter a lengthy period of semi-hibernation in the austral winter, a state of torpor lasting up to sixty days.[10]

Habitat and distribution

Nyctophilus major occurs in Western Australia, in the high rainfall southwest region of the Australian continent dominated by giant eucalypts and as an isolated population close to the Eyre Bird Observatory.[12]

The trees of the upperstory of its habitat are the large to very tall eucalypt species, karri Eucalyptus diversicolor, jarrah E. marginata, tuart E. gomphocephala, and marri Corymbia calophylla. Other woodland types inhabited by the bat include stands of melaleuca, banksia and sheoak tees of genus Allocasuarina, and include a dense understory.[12]

Roost sites favoured by the N. major are tree hollows and amongst foliage, and beneath the loose thick bark of swamp paperbark (Melaleuca sp.) and flooded gum (Eucalyptus sp.) in riparian habitat.[12]


  1. ^ a b Richardson, John; Gray, John Edward; Ross, James Clark (1844). "The zoology of the voyage of the H.M.S. Erebus & Terror, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, during the years 1839 to 1843. By authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty". 1. E. W. Janson,: 39.
  2. ^ Simmons, N.B. (2005). "Order Chiroptera". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 312–529. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ Parnaby, H. E. (January 2009). "A taxonomic review of Australian Greater Long-eared Bats previously known as Nyctophilus timoriensis (Chiroptera:Vespertilionidae) and some associated taxa". Australian Zoologist. 35 (1): 39–81. doi:10.7882/AZ.2009.005.
  4. ^ a b "Species 'Nyctophilus major J.E. Gray, 1844". Australian Faunal Directory. 2018-12-04. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  5. ^ Jackson, S.M.; Groves, C. (2015). Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Csiro Publishing. p. 267. ISBN 9781486300136.
  6. ^ "Genus Nyctophilus Leach, 1821". Australian Faunal Directory. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  7. ^ Abbott, Ian (2001). "Aboriginal names of mammal species in south-west Western Australia". CALMScience. 3 (4): 485.
  8. ^ Gould, John (1863). The mammals of Australia. 3. Printed by Taylor and Francis, pub. by the author,. pp. Pl. 39, et seq.
  9. ^ a b c "Nyctophilus major : Greater Long-Eared Bat". Atlas of Living Australia. Australian Government. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Richards, G.C.; Hall, L.S.; Parish, S. (photography) (2012). A natural history of Australian bats : working the night shift. CSIRO Pub. pp. 41, 162. ISBN 9780643103740.
  11. ^ a b c d Menkhorst, P.W.; Knight, F. (2011). A field guide to the mammals of Australia (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 176. ISBN 9780195573954.
  12. ^ a b c d Andrew, D. (2015). Complete Guide to Finding the Mammals of Australia. CSIRO Publishing. p. 336. ISBN 9780643098145.
List of bats

This list contains the placental mammals in the order Chiroptera. There are an estimated 1,300 species of bat.

List of bats of Australia

This is the list of bats of Australia, a sub-list of the list of mammals of Australia. About 75 bat species are known to occur in Australia, Lord Howe and Christmas Island. This list principally follows the authoritative reference, Churchill (2008)

List of mammals described in the 21st century

The following is the list of mammals which have been taxonomically described in the 21st century.


Nyctophilus is a genus of the vespertilionids or vesper bats. They are often termed big-eared bats or long-eared bats, as the length of their ears often greatly exceeds that of the head. This genus occurs in the New Guinean-Australian region.

Teleogryllus oceanicus

Teleogryllus oceanicus, commonly known as the Australian, Pacific or oceanic field cricket, is a cricket found across Oceania and in coastal Australia from Carnarvon in Western Australia and Rockhampton in north-east Queensland T. oceanicus populations in Hawaii arose through human-assisted introduction. It is currently unknown whether T. oceanicus was introduced to Hawaii in 1877 by area trade ships, or 1500 years ago with the original Polynesian settlers. Microsatellite comparisons support the idea that the Hawaiian T. oceanicus colonization originated in the Western islands and then spread East.T. oceanicus crickets are black to dark brown in coloration with longitudinal stripes on the back of the head. Males average between 28–35 mm in length, and the females are typically longer due to the ovipositor with an average of 33–42 mm. These crickets are typically found on soil ground hiding in fissures or holes in the terrain, and are typically only found in high numbers in landscapes that provide a good deal of cover.T. oceanicus may also be referred to as the black field cricket, a common name it shares with Teleogryllus commodus. The two species are nearly morphologically indistinguishable, the exception being that T. oceanicus males have a greater number of file teeth on their wings. T. oceanicus was originally regarded taxonomically as a geographic race of T. commodus, but was later recognized as a distinct species as growing evidence of reproductive isolation and differences in calling sound were reported. The two species' geographic ranges remain mostly separate with the exception of small overlap zones in Eastern Australia. There have been no reports of hybridization between the species in this overlap zone, thought to be due to differences in calling song acting as a pre-zygotic barrier. No character displacement has been observed in either species in this overlap region. Unlike T. commodus which lays eggs only a single time per season, T. oceanicus crickets breed year round.


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

Western long-eared bat

Western long-eared bat may refer to bat species,

Myotis evotis, also known as long-eared myotis, found in North America

Nyctophilus major, found in southwest Australia


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