Key to the Bats of Madagascar


Has a claw on the thumb, and on the second digit. Teeth of the frugivorous type (2)

Has claw on the thumb, but not on the second digit. Teeth of the insectivorous type (4)

A fruit bat (Rousettus). The claw on the second digit is visible below the nose.


No tail present. Pteropus r. rufus

Tail present (3)


Forearm much greather than 95mm Eidolon dupreanum

Forearm much less than 95 mm. Rousettus m. madagascariensis


Has fixed suckers on wrists and ankles. Myzopoda aurita

No suckers (5)

Sucker of Myzopoda


Nose leaf present (can be slit nosed) (6)

No nose leaf present (10)


Muzzle divided by a longitudinal furrow with fleshy dermal outgrowths. Tail terminates in a T-shaped tip (A). Nycteris madagascariensis

Tail of Nycteris

Face with well-developed nose-leaf covering muzzle (7)


Forearm greater than 75 mm. Top of nose-leaf not very complex and is rounded [39A]. Hipposideros c. commersoni


Forearm less than 75 mm. Nose leaf is trident-shaped [39B] (8)



Forearm greater than 48 mm. Ears (from the notch) smaller than 15 mm. Triaenops rufus

Forearm less than 48 mm. Ears (from the notch) greater than 15 mm (9)

9. (Note: May be the same species)

3rd metacarpal greater than 35 mm. Tail less than 20 mm. Dorsal pelage is grey-black. Triaenops auritus

3rd metacarpal less than 35 mm. Tail greater than 20 mm. Dorsal pelage is grey-brown. Triaenops furculus


Free tail. Does not include slight extension past interfemoral membrane (<5mm) [40A] (21) Tail of Tadarida pumila

Tail enclosed with interfemoral membrane (11)

Tail of Eptesicus/Pipistrellus

11. Vespertilionidae - see Box 1

second phalanx of 3rd digit about three times as long as the first digit; braincase high and rounded. 3rd and 4th fingers are bent at the joint between the 1st and 2nd phalanx when at rest [Fig 41] (all these and nopostcalcarial lobe) (12)

Wing of Miniopterus showing elongated second phalanx of 3rd digit

second phalanx of third digit not especially elongated (15)

12. Miniopterus see Box 2

Forearm measurement more than 46 mm (mean = 48.4; 46.7-49.9); greater length of head exceeding 16.0 mm. Miniopterus gleni

In general, forearm less than 46 mm; greater length of head smaller than 16.0 mm (13)


Forearm more than 40 mm (14)

Forearm less than 40 mm. Miniopterus manavi


Greater length of skull is not less than 15 mm (mean = 15.5; 15.0 16.1). Forearm mean = 44.2 (41.8-46.6); M3-M3: mean = 6.5 (6.3-6.8). Miniopterus majori

Greater length of skull is in general less than 15 mm (mean = 14.8; 14.5-15.1). Forearm mean = 42.8 (40.7-44.4); M3-M3: mean = 5.9 (5.7-6.0). Miniopterus fraterculus. (Note: The presence of M. fraterculus has not been confirmed)


Post-calcarial lobe present [Fig. 42A]. Tragus short, curved, and rounded at tip and may be bent forward (16) Post-calcarial lobe of Scotophilus

No post-calcarial lobe Tragus long and sharp. Myotis goudoti

tragus of Myotis


Tragus obviously bent forward [Fig. 43] (20)

Tragus not bent forward at top. (17)

Tragus of Scotophilus


Last tail vertebrae projects beyond membrane by a maximum of 1mm. The post-calcarial lobe broad with visible T-piece cartilage. Two pairs of upper premolars present (18)

Last 1-2 tail vertebrae project beyond membrane 4-5mm. Post-calcarial lobe is narrow, usually without a visible T-piece cartilage. One pair of upper premolars present. (19)


Note: Pipistrelle species not established as yet record as Pipistrellus spp. But note any observations.


There is no single characteristic that separates these species. Click here for further information.


Forearm greater than 55 mm. Scotophilus robustus

Forearm less than 55 mm. Scotophilus borbonicus


Free terminal proportion of tail emerges above middle of upper surface of interfemoral membrane [Fig. 44B] (22) Tail of Eptesicus/Pipistrellus

Free terminal proportion of tail projecting beyond hind margin of interfemoral membrane [Fig. 44A] (23)

ATail of Tadarida


Forearm > 50 mm (58-64); males with large gular sac in the throat. Taphozous mauritianus

Forearm < 50 mm (37-41mm); no gular sac. Emballonura atrata


Ears very large (28-40 mm), joined on extended snout; forearm > 60 mm. Otomops madagascariensisHead of Otomops

Different face (24)

24. Mollosidae - see Box 3

Ears separated at the base (25)

Separated ears (M. jugularis)

Ears joined at the base (27)

Joined ears (Tadarida (Mops) leucostigma)


Ears separated at the base. Translucent ears are erect and well separated by a space at the base. Unwrinkled lips. White underside. Forearm less than 45 mm (26)

Ears separated at the base. Forearm is greater than 55 mm. Tadarida (Tadarida) fulminans


Ears with anterior margin slightly emarginated below pointed tip. Tadarida (Mormopterus) acetabulosa !

Ears without emargination, tips broadly rounded. Tadarida (Mormopterus) jugularis

Mormopterus jugularis


Forearm less than 40 mm (28)

Forearm greater than 40 mm (29)


Forearm usually less than 38mm; Tragus is small and square. Tadarida (Chaerephon) leucogaster Ear of T. (Chaerephon) leucogaster

Forearm usually greater than 38mm; Tragus is small, sharp and straight. Tadarida (Chaerephon) pumila

Ear of T. p



Forearm greater than 55mm. Tadarida (Mops) midas miarensis

Forearm less than 50mm. Tadarida (Mops) leucostigma