A distinctive echolocation frequency led to the discovery of a new species of bat within the genus Hipposideros. Although this bat is similar to the species Hipposideros armiger, differences in acoustics, size, and DNA between these bats led to the identification of the new species. This new member of the bat community has been given the scientific name Hipposideros griffini.
The H. griffini bat has a smaller overall body size than its close cousin, H. armiger, and variations in the skull and teeth. Differences also appeared in the mitochondrial DNA collected from these bats. The echolocation frequencies of the new species range from 76.6 to 79.2 kHz, which is higher than frequencies of several H. armiger subspecies, which range from 64.7 to 71.4 kHz. Additional evidence shows that these two species are occupying the same geographical region yet have retained their separate identities.
Dr. Vu Dinh Thong, a member of the research group, who comes from the Institute of Ecology and Bioresources of Vietnam, said that the new species of bat is named after the late professor Donald Redfield Griffin, of Rockefeller University in New York. Griffin was a leader in and essential contributor to bat echolocation research, which was key to identifying H. griffini as a new species. The proposed common name for this bat is “Griffin’s leaf-nosed bat.”
The new species was found at Cat Ba Island in Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam and in Chu Mom Ray National Park, situated on the mainland more than 600 miles (1,000 km) to the south. H. griffini joins about 70 other species within the genus Hipposideros.
The discovery was the result of cooperation among experts of Vietnam’s Institute of Ecology and Bio-resources, Germany’s Tuebingen University, Britain’s Harrison Institute, the Hungarian Natural History Museum and the Dublin University of Ireland.