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Newly Described Mammals Week: Alpine Long-Eared Bat (Plecotus alpinus)

Posted on Feb 21, 2008 by in Bats, Theme Weeks | 4 comments

Plecotus alpinus
Number 0127

Here’s another one that was discovered to be a species through DNA, at least I think that’s what happened. I’m sorry to say that I’m a little too bushed to figure it all out right now. I’ll leave that to you, if you care to download the PDF of the 2002 article that described this little guy for the first time. Plecotus alpinus, my friend, I am sorry that your roll of the 5,000-sided die came up this month, when I cannot give you the time I ordinarily (I hope) would be able to, but it had to happen to someone.

Here is a fact I learned while researching Mr. Alpine Long-Eared Bat, though. See the long, sort of triangular-shaped things on the front of his ears? Those are called tragi (singular tragus). The word comes from the Greek tragos, or goat, which my dictionary explains thusly: “with reference to the characteristic tuft of hair that is often present, likened to a goat’s beard.” I think it’s likely that the triangular-shaped things we have in front of our ears are also tragi, although neither we nor the Alpine long-eared bat have the characteristic tuft of hair.

Homepage of Andreas Kiefer, one of the professors who first described this bat


  1. What a great drawing. It must just eaten because it looks so happy.

  2. Ha! I think you’re right, Fishing Guy!

  3. I really like this one too. It looks like the fur is slightly wet or greasy.

    Interesting about the dna defining identifying it as a species.

  4. Thanks, Flying Trilobite. Yeah, I’d like to learn more about how species are defined, categorized, described, and kept track of. It’s pretty fascinating, and DNA could probably shake up taxonomy a lot, I’d think.

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