A new tube-nosed fruit bat from New Guinea, Nyctimene wrightae sp. nov., a re-diagnosis of N. certans and N. cyclotis (Pteropodidae: Chiroptera), and a review of their conservation status
The tube-nosed fruit bat genus Nyctimene comprises 18 species found in the Philippines, Wallacea, Melanesia and the Solomon Islands but species taxonomy has remained problematic. A review of the cyclotis group, consisting of N. cyclotis and N. certans from New Guinea is presented, using morphological and genetic data. Historically, the taxonomy of the cyclotis group has been severely impeded by the lack of illustrations or photographs of the majority of the types. This led authors to differ in their treatment of these species, suggesting that the distinct taxa N. cyclotis and N. certans might be conspecific. Here, N. cyclotis and N. certans are recognized as full species and are re-diagnosed. I describe Nyctimene wrightae sp. nov., a widespread New Guinean species which is tentatively placed in the cyclotis group. These three species and the sympatric N. a. papuanus, of similar body-size, are morphologically distinguished using discriminant function analyses and non-metric characters. An identification key is provided. Species distribution and conservation status are evaluated. The IUCN threat status recommended for each species is: N. wrightae sp. nov. Least Concern; N. certans (known from < 200 specimens) with unknown population size and trends, Data Deficient; and N. cyclotis, known from only two male specimens, Vulnerable. Further research is required on the basic ecology of all of these species, which remains virtually unknown.