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Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon - by Robert A. Sterndale F.R.G.S., F.Z.S. (1884)

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DESCRIPTION.—Muzzle long and narrow; skull very concave between the nasal bones and the vertex, so that the crown appears considerably vaulted; ears funnel-shaped and semi-transparent; tragus very long, narrow and pointed; wings very wide; tail longer than head and body, wholly contained within the interfemoral membrane.

Dentition: Inc., 2—2/6; can., 1—1/1—1; premolars, 3—3/3—3; molars, 3—3/3—3.

The generic name of this bat is composed of two Singhalese words—kehel or kela, the plantain, and voulha, which is the Singhalese for bat, the specimen on which Gray founded his genus being the following:—

105. KERIVOULA PICTA. The Painted Bat (Jerdon's No. 53).

HABITAT.—India generally, Burmah and Ceylon.

DESCRIPTION.—"Fur fine, woolly; above yellowish-red or golden rufous, beneath less brilliant and more yellow; wing membranes inky black, with rich orange stripes along the fingers extending in indentations into the membrane."—Jerdon.

Ears moderate, laid forwards; the tips reach midway between the eyes and the middle of the muzzle; tragus very long and straight; thumb short; wings to the base of the toes.

SIZE.—Head and body, 1½ inch; tail, 1·6 inch; expanse about 10 inches.

This beautiful little bat is found all over India, but is not common; it is occasionally caught in plantain gardens, as it resorts to the leaves of that tree for shelter during the night, and may sometimes be discovered in the folds of a leaf. As Jerdon remarks, it looks more like a butterfly or a moth when disturbed during the day time. Dr. Dobson pertinently observes that the colours of this bat appear to be the result of the "protective mimicry" which we see so often in insects, the Mantidea and other genera, the colours being adapted to their abiding places. He alludes to Mr. Swinhoe's account ('P. Z. S.,' 1862, p. 357) of an allied species:—"The body of this bat was of an orange yellow, but the wings were painted with orange yellow and black. It was caught suspended head downwards on a cluster of the round fruit of the longan tree. (Nephelium [Scytalia] longanum) [the ash phul of Bengal]. Now this tree is an evergreen, and all the year through some portion of its foliage is undergoing decay, the particular leaves being in such a stage partially orange and black; this bat can therefore at all seasons suspend from its branches and elude its enemies by its resemblance to the leaf of the tree." This bat was named by Pallas Vespertilio pictus. Boddaert in 1785 termed it Vesp. kerivoula, and Gray afterwards took the second specific name for that of the genus, leaving the first as it is.

(Jerdon's No. 54.)

This is synonymous with Vespertilio formosus, which see further on, it is the same as the Kerivoula formosa of Gray.

(Jerdon's No. 55.)

HABITAT.—Java, but said by Jerdon to have been found in Calcutta and Ceylon.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur fine woolly, long, bicoloured; above light shining brown, paler below; the free edge of the interfemoral membrane margined with small papillæ.


HABITAT.—India (Assam—Shillong, Khasia hills).

DESCRIPTION.—Same size as K. picta, but ears larger; fur uniformly dark above and below, with shining greyish-brown extremities.

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