Discovery of new colonies of the rare Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat Otomops wroughtoni (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Molossidae) in Meghalaya, northeastern India

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Manuel Ruedi
D. Khlur B. Mukhim
Oana Mirela Chachula
Thomas Arbenz
Adora Thabah


Otomops wroughtoni is an extremely rare molossid bat, known so far by a single breeding colony in southwestern India and two single individuals recorded in Meghalaya and Cambodia.  We report here the discovery of three new roosts located in large karstic caves of the Jaintia Hills, in southeastern Meghalaya.  Visual counts indicate that at least 90 individuals occupied these new roosts in February 2014, which doubles the known world population of this species.  The new populations of Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bats from the Jaintia Hills have considerable value for the conservation of this elusive species.  Although these bats are protected under national laws, their cave roosts and hunting habitats are subjected to severe and ongoing degradation.  A protection plan that would include more extensive surveys and a strict conservation of these caves should be implemented rapidly to mitigate these threats.


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