Of the rich diversity of vertebrate fauna, bats are unique being the only group of mammals that, like birds, have true flight. The Order- Chiroptera one of the 26 mammalian orders is the second most diverse group of mammals, after rodents. The last comprehensive list of chiropteran (Bat) species was published in Mammal Species of the World in 2005. This list included 1116 bat species and an additional 934 subspecies. Today we have more than 1200 species of Bats. Although this diversity is impressive and bats comprise around 20% of mammalian species, many new species remain to be discovered, and new analytical tools are increasing the pace of the discovery process. In the last decade over 100 additional bat species have been recognized based on combinations of genetic data (mostly mitochondrial gene sequences), morphology, and echolocation call structure.
Although some new species are collected in the field and immediately recognized as new, many others are found in museum drawers or studies of populations thought to belong to other nominal taxa. In some tropical areas, there are more species of bats than of all other kinds of mammals combined. (Hill and Smith, 1984; Nowak, 1991; Vaughan, et al., 2000). Bats are found throughout the world in tropical and temperate habitats. They are missing only from polar regions and from some isolated islands. Although bats are relatively common in temperate regions, they reach their greatest diversity in tropical forests.
A total of 123 species of bats are reported from South Asia, with the microchiropterans being better represented than the megachiropterans (111 vs. 12 species).
Status of South Asian Chiroptera
|Category||Endemic toSouth Asia
|Critically Endangered CR||1||1||2|
|Vulnerable VU 4||4||16||20|
|Near Threatened NT||2||32||32|
|Least Concern LC||4||45||49|
|Data Deficient DD||2||6||8|
|Not Evaluated NE||0||3||3|
(source : Status of Chiroptera of South Asia – C.A.M.P. 2002)