The bat fauna (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of the United Arab Emirates: a review of published records and museum specimens with conservation notes

Main Article Content

J. Judas
Gabor Csorba
Petr Benda


The bat fauna of United Arab Emirates (UAE) has so far received very little attention.  This paper presents a review of published records and voucher specimens in museum collections.  We reviewed 39 references and identified 116 records concerning nine species belonging to five families.  Fifteen of these records mention 71 specimens of six species in collections.  Distribution maps of known locations are provided for each species.  Most records (70%) date back more than 10 years and two species have not been recorded for more than 40 years.  Based on the bat fauna of Oman, a more thoroughly investigated neighbouring country, the presence of at least nine other, still unrecorded, species is expected.  The status of bats in UAE and their conservation concerns are discussed.  We encourage further field studies of the bat fauna of UAE.


Article Details

Author Biographies

J. Judas, EWS-WWF, P.O. Box 454891, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Manager & Scientific Advisor - Terrestrial Biodiversity

Gabor Csorba, Hungarian Natural History Museum, H-1088 Budapest, Baross u. 13, Hungary

deputy General Director at the Hungarian Natural History museum

Petr Benda, Department of Zoology, National Museum (Natural History), Václavské nám. 68, 115 79 Praha 1 & Department of Zoology, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44 Praha 2, Czech Republic

research curator


AGEDI - Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (2008). Mammals, pp. 38–49. In: AGEDI (ed.): Terrestrial Environments of Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates. Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE xvii+112pp.

Anonymous (2010). It’s a … It’s a … It’s Batman! Gazelle. Dubai, UAE, 25(2): 4–7.

Aspinall, S., P. Hellyer & C. Drew (2005). Terrestrial mammals, pp. 307–333. In: Hellyer, P. & S. Aspinall (eds.). The Emirates Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London, 428pp.

Benda, P., M. Andreas & A. Reiter (2002). Record of Hypsugo arabicus from Baluchistan, Iran, with remarks to its ecology and systematical status, p. 15. In: Anonymous (ed.): IXth European Bat Research Symposium. 26–30 August 2002 – University of Le Havre. Abstracts. Le Havre: University of Le Havre, France, x+59pp.

Benda, P., M. Andreas, D. Kock, R. LuÄan, P. Munclinger, P. Nová, J. Obuch, K. Ochman, A. Reiter, M. Uhrin & D. Weinfurtová (2006). Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of the eastern Mediterranean. Part 4.

Bat fauna of Syria: distribution, systematics, ecology. Acta Societatis Zoologicae Bohemicae 70: 1–329.

Benda, P., K. Faizolahi, M. Andreas, J. Obuch, A. Reiter, M. Sevcik, M. Uhrin, P. Vallo & S. Ashrafi (2012). Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. Part 10. Bat Fauna of Iran. Acta Societatis Zoologicae Bohemicae 76: 163–582.

Brown, B. (1988). Bats of the UAE. Bulletin of the Abu Dhabi Natural History Group 36: 14–15.

Brown, B. (1991). Mammals. In: Recorders’ Reports for January–

June 1991. Tribulus 1(2): 31–35.

Cunningham, P.L. (2004). Checklist and status of the terrestrial mammals from the United Arab Emirates. Zoology in the Middle East 33: 7–20.

Davis, L. (2007). An Introduction to the Bats of the United Arab Emirates. Echoes Ecology Ltd., Polmont, UK, 24pp.

Drew, C. & S. Al Dhaheri (2003). A Report on the Findings of a Preliminary Ecological and Environmental Survey of Jebel Hafit. Internal Report. Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 39pp.

Drew, C., A. Al Hemeri, P. Soorae & S. Khan (2003). A Report on a Survey of Terrestrial Mammals and Reptiles of Arzanah. Internal report, Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 10pp.

Drew, C. & L. Drew (2004). The Mammals of Jebel Hafit, pp. 169–186. In: Aspinall, S. & P. Hellyer (eds.). Jebel Hafit, A Natural History. Emirates Natural History Group, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 220pp.

Drew, C.R., S. Al Dhaheri, I. Barcelo &Â C. Tourenq (2005). The Terrestrial Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians of the UAE - Species List and Status Report. Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 23pp.

Drew, C. & C. Tourenq (2005). The Red List of Terrestrial Mammalian Species of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 28pp.

Duckworth, W. (1996). Land mammals of Abu Dhabi, pp. 148–171. In: Osborne, P.E. (ed.). Desert Ecology of Abu Dhabi. Pisces Publications, Newbury, UK, 236pp.

Fogg, T., P. Fogg & T. Waltham (2002). Magharet Qasir Hafit, a significant cave in the United Arab Emirates. Tribulus 12(1): 5–14.

Gardner, D. (2009). AÂ naked-bellied tomb bat, Taphozous nudiventris, photographed at Qarn Nazwa, Sharjah on 18Â April 2009. Tribulus 18: cover page

Gross, C. (1987). Mammals of the Southern Gulf. Motivate Publishing, Dubai, UAE, 80pp.

Harrison, D.L. (1955). On a collection of mammals from Oman, Arabia, with the description of two new bats. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Twelfth Series 8: 897–910.

Harrison, D.L. (1964). The Mammals of Arabia. Volume I. Introduction, Insectivora, Chiroptera, Primates. Ernest Benn Limited, London, UK, xx+192pp.

Harrison, D.L. (1972). The Mammals of Arabia. Volume III. Lagomorpha, Rodentia. Ernest Benn Limited, London, UK, xvii+288pp.

Harrison, D.L. (1977). Mammals obtained by the Expedition with a checklist of the mammals of the Sultanate of Oman. Journal of Oman Studies, Special Report [The Scientific Results of The Oman Flora and Fauna Survey] 1975: 13–26.

Harrison, D.L. (1981). Mammals of the Arabian Gulf. George Allen &Â Unwin, London, UK, 92pp.

Harrison, D.L. & P.J.J. Bates (1991). The Mammals of Arabia. Second

Edition. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK, 354pp.

Hellyer, P. (1988). Mammal Recorder’s Report, 1987. Bulletin of the Abu Dhabi Natural History Group 34: 11–12.

Hellyer, P. (1989). Mammal Recorder’s Report, 1988. Bulletin of the Abu Dhabi Natural History Group 37: 3–6.

Hellyer, P. (1992a). Mammals. In: Recorders’ Reports for July–December 1991. Tribulus 2(1): 27–30.

Hellyer, P. (1992b). Mammals. In: Recorders’ Reports for January–June 1992. Tribulus 2(2): 41–45.

Hellyer, P. (1994). Mammals. In: Recorders’ Reports. Tribulus 4(1): 25–29.

Hellyer, P. (1999). Recorders’ Reports: mammals and miscellaneous. Tribulus 9(1): 31.

Hornby, R. (1996). A red list of mammals for the United Arab Emirates. Tribulus 6(1): 13–14.

IUCN (2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. . Downloaded on 31 October 2017.

Jones, G., D.S. Jacobs, T.H. Kunz, M.R. Willig & P.A. Racey (2009). Carpe noctem: the importance of bats as bioindicators. Endangered Species Research 8: 93–115.

Jones, G. (2012). What bioindicators are and why they are important, pp. 18–19. In: Flaquer, C. & X. Pulg-Montserrat (eds.). Proceedings of the International Symposium on the importance of bats as Bioindicators. Museum of Natural Sciences Editions, Granollers.

Jongbloed, M., R. Llewellyn-Smith &Â M. Sawaf (2001). Wild About Mammals. Arabian Leopard Trust & Zodiac Publishing, Sharjah, UAE, 70pp.

Judas, J. (2016). Wadi Wurayah National Park - Scientific Research report 2013–2015. EWS-WWF Report. Abu Dhabi, UAE, 115pp.

Juste, J., P. Benda, J.L. Garcia-Murrada & C. Ibanez (2013). Phylogeny and systematics of Old World serotine bats (genus Eptesicus, Vespertilionidae, Chiroptera): an integrative approach. Zoologica Scripta 42(5): 441–457.

Kalka, M.B., A.R. Smith & E.K.V. Kalko (2008). Bats limit arthropods and herbivory in a tropical forest. Science 320: 71.

Khan, R. (2014). Not a bird but a tiny bat ID needed. accessed 5 December 2015.

Kunz, T.H., E. Braun de Torrez, D. Bauer, T. Lobova & T.H. Fleming (2011). Ecosystem services provided by bats. Annals New York Academy of Science, 1223: 1–38.

Memish, Z.A., N. Mishra, K.J. Olival, S.F. Fagbo, V. Kapoor, J.H. Epstein, R. Alhakeem, A. Durosinloun, M. Al Asmari, A. Islam, A. Kapoor, T. Briese, P. Daszak, A.A. Al Rabeeah & W.I. Lipkin (2013). Middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus in bats, Saudi Arabia. Emerging Infectious Diseases [Internet]. 2013 Nov [03 june 2016];

Monadjem, A., C. Joubert, L. Richards, I. B. Nielsen, M. Nielsen, K.R..Kjartansdóttir, K. Bohmann, T. Mourier & A.J. Hansen (2016). First record of Vespertilio murinus from the Arabian Peninsula. Vespertilio 18: 79–89.

Nader, I.A. (1990). Checklist of the mammals of Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 11: 239–381.

Roberts, H. (2015). [series of annotated photos]. accessed 7Â December 2015.

Sanborn, C.C. (1956). Appendix C: Bats collected by the expedition. In: Field H. (ed.): An Anthropological Reconnaissance in the Near East, 1950. Papers of the Peabody Museum, Hardvard, UK 48(2): 77.

Sherwin, H.A., W.I. Montgomery & M.G. Lundy (2013). The impact and implications of climate change for bats. Mammal Review 43: 171–182.

Stuart, C. &Â T. Stuart (1998). The mammal fauna of Jebel Hafit. In: Hornby, R. (ed.): The Natural History, Geology and Archaelogy of Jebel Hafeet. Emirates Natural History Group, Abu Dhabi, UK.

Tourenq, C., A. Khassim, M. Sawaf, M. K. Shuriqi, E. Smart, M. Ziolkowksi, M. Brook, R. Selwan & L. Perry (2009). Characterisation of the Wadi Wurayah catchment basin, the first mountain protected area in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 35: 289–311.

Thesiger, W. (1959). Arabian Sands. Reprinted 1996. Motivate Publishing, Dubai, UAE, 306pp.

Thomas, B. (1932). Arabia Felix: across the Empty Quarter of Arabia. Jonathan Cape Publication, 304pp.

Tourenq, C. & F. Launay (2008). Challenges facing biodiversity in the United Arab Emirates. Management Environment Quality 19(3): 283-304.

van Cakenberghe, V. & F. de Vree (1994). A revision of the Rhinopomatidae Dobson, 1872, with the description of a new subspecies (Mammalia: Chiroptera). Senckenbergiana Biologica 73: 1–24.

Wilson, D.E. & D.A.M. Reeder (eds.) (2005). Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd Edition). Johns Hopkins University Press, 2, 142pp. Accessed 24 March 2017

Most read articles by the same author(s)