It’s been a good couple of weeks when it comes to the discovery of hideous and terrifying new animals. In addition to some creepy amphibian worms and the world’s deepest dwelling land animal, a study in the Journal of Mammalogy has shown that a terrifying variety of leaf-nosed bat, found in Vietnam and pictured above, is genetically distinct from any other known species of bat. It’s also distinctly better at causing nightmares.
This leaf-nose bat isn’t exactly new to the animal scene; it was first spotted in Chu Mom Ray National Park way back in 2008 by Vu Dinh Thong and his team of researchers. At the time, it was unclear whether the bats spotted were members of a new species, or simply specimens from one of the many known — and slightly less horrific — species of leaf-nosed bats. While there was a chance that this was not big discovery, Vu Dinh and his team decided that they had to know for sure, and captured a few specimens for study. Despite some pretty serious hurdles (a massive amount of leaches, for example) the team was able to snag a few for a disturbingly close up look.
After investigating the bats’ sonar frequencies and taking some tissue samples, the researchers were able to come to the conclusion that this species, Hipposideros griffini, is genetically distinct from any of its relatives, though beyond that, not much is known. So far, the bat has only been found in two Vietnamese national parks, but upon further study, Vu Dinh expects that more habitats might be found. Excitingly, or troublingly, Vu Dinh also says that the discover of this bat may suggest that there are even more species of bat still hiding in Vietnam.
Whatever the case, I’m just glad that the our cultural history of vampires is based around the teeth of a vampire bat and not the face of this crazy guy. Although I must admit, I sure would like to see a cut of Twilight starring a vampire inspired by the mug of one of these little Lovecraftian horrors.
(via National Geographic)