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Studies on the Two New Zealand Bats



Both species of New Zealand bat are endemic. The long-tailed bat, C. tuberculatus, is one of six species of the Australasian genus Chalinolobus (F. Vesper-tilionidae) ; a genus closely related to the southern African Glauconycteris. Tate (1946) suggests that the genus is of Australian origin and it appears that C. tuberculatus is a comparatively recent immigrant to New Zealand. The shorttailed bat, Mystacina tuberculata, is the sole species of the family Mystacinidae. Within New Zealand Mystacina is represented as two subspecies. M. t. tuberculata is recorded from the North Island and the northern parts of the South Island, while M. t. robusta is known only from the Stewart Island region.

There are some unconfirmed records suggesting the existence of other species of bat in New Zealand. Polack (1838) refers to the presence of "Pekapeka, or bats" and "various small batlets, but none of the vampire species". Stock (1876) claims sighting a large bat. at Paekakariki (South Wellington) in 1854. The "body was far larger than of a mouse and somewhat smaller than that of an ordinary sized rat; wing spread was certainly not less than 18 inches". He page 12records similar observations by others at Wanganui and at the Clarence River (Marlborough). Baker and Bird (1936) state that the range of Hipposideros cervinus (Gould) extends south to New Zealand, but I have been unable to find any evidence for this remark. Tate (1941) has reviewed the genus Hipposideros and does not include New Zealand within the range. It is possible that records such as these could be based on chance sightings of occasional wind-borne Australian species.