Environment Australia, 1999
ISBN 0 642 2546 363
Taxon summary: Golden-tipped Bat
Scientific name: Kerivoula papuensis Dobson, 1878
Common name: Golden-tipped Bat
Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened)
Past range and abundance
Not known. There are few records of the species before the 1980’s (Hall and Richards 1979). First recorded from Coomooboolaroo Station, south of Duaringa in central Queensland in 1884, although the exact locality is doubted (Schulz 1995a). This species was not recorded from 1897 until 1981, when it was ‘re-discovered’, with the capture of a single individual at Crystal Cascades on the hinterland of Cairns (Churchill 1998); for historical review see Schulz 1995a). Extralimitally, this species is found in Papua New Guinea and the type locality is Port Moresby (Flannery 1995, Bonaccorso 1999).
Present range and abundance
Not well known. Since the 1980’s this species has been captured with increasing regularity in regional fauna surveys with the refinement of trapping techniques and improvement of sonar detection systems (Walton et al. 1992, Clague et al. 1995, Schulz and Wainer 1997). The species has been recorded from sea level to over 1200m altitude in scattered localities ranging from Mumbulla State Forest, east of Bega in southern New South Wales north to Cape York Peninsula (Lunney and Barker 1986, Parnaby and Mills 1994, Clague et al. 1995, Schulz 1995a). It appears to have localised distributions and/or sparsely distributed within its range. The species is reasonably common in the north Queensland wet tropics region (Clague et al. 1995, Clague et al. 1995, Schulz 1995a). The majority of records have been collected in the north-east New South Wales and south-east Queensland biogeographical regions (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 1994, Schulz and Wainer 1997). The western limit of this species is poorly understood (Walton et al. 1992). While it is known from semi-evergreen vine thickets in the Tarong-Yarraman area of inland south-east Queensland, it has not been located in dry vine forests west of the Atherton Tablelands.
This species has been recorded predominantly from a variety of rainforest types, ranging from tropical mesophyll vine forest to semi-evergreen vine thickets, and rainforest ecotone areas, where it feeds on a range of both gleaned and aerially acquired dietary items (Clague et al. 1995, Schulz 1995a, Schulz and Wainer 1997). There are a small number of records from dry and wet sclerophyll forests lacking a rainforest subcanopy, riparian Casuarina cunninghamiana dominated forest, coastal Melaleuca forests, and several individuals have been recorded inside houses on the edge of residential areas (Schulz 1995a). However the majority of such records are situated within 1 km of rainforest patches.
Roosts have predominantly been recorded from the disused suspended nests of the Yellow-throated Scrubwren Sericornis citreogularis and the Brown Gerygone Gerygone mouki (Schulz 1995b, 1998). Individuals have also been recorded roosting in tree hollows and on the side of branches, and in suspended dead foliage of treeferns (Schulz 1995b). Outside Australia, this species has been recorded roosting in caves and in buildings (Flannery 1995).
Threats to this species are not well understood. However, clearing of drier rainforest types and lowland rainforest areas for agricultural and pastoral purposes, particularly in the western and coastal parts of its range, are likely to have caused decline of the species. Current potential threats include: continued clearing and fragmentation of forest, forest harvesting operations; the effect of prescribed fire regimes and ad hoc fires from leaseholders in production forests on foraging habitat; and predation by domestic and feral cats (known species roosts are within 5m of the ground). As the majority of roosts located so far, have been in the nests of the Yellow-throated Scrubwren and Brown Gerygone, it may be important to identify current threats facing these two rainforest bird species.
- Conduct surveys to clarify distribution (western range limits in Queensland, drier sections of coastal and sub-coastal Queensland e.g. between Rockhampton and Mackay).
- Conduct DNA analysis of collected material to identify whether the species is isolated in sections of its range.
- Continue ecological research to determine:
- habitat requirements;
- roost and maternity site selection, particularly where the Yellow-throated Scrubwren and Brown Gerygone are uncommon or absent;
- population dynamics; and
- threatening processes, particularly the impact of forestry practices in New South Wales and Queensland.
- Ensure protection of representative populations across the distributional range.
Bonaccorso F. 1999. Bats of Papua New Guinea. Conservation International, Washington.
Churchill S. 1998. Australian Bats. Reed New Holland, Sydney, NSW.
Clague C., Coles R.B., Spencer H.J. and Whybird O.J. 1995. Observations on the ecology and distribution of Murina florium and Kerivoula papuensis in the wet tropics region of Australia. (Abstract). Proceedings of the 1995 Scientific Meeting of the Australian Mammal Society. Australian Mammal Society, Townsville.
Flannery T.F. 1995. Mammals of New Guinea. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Hall L.S. and Richards G.C. 1979. Bats of Eastern Australia. Queensland Museum Booklet No. 12. Queensland Museum, Brisbane.
Lunney D. and Barker J. 1986. The occurrence of Phoniscus papuensis (Dobson) (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) on the south coast of New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy 9, 57–58.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. 1994. Fauna of north-east NSW forests. North east Forests Biodiversity Study Report No.3. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney.
Parnaby H. and Mills D. 1994. A record of the Golden-tipped Bat from the escarpment forests of southern New South Wales. Australian Zoologist 29, 245–249.
Rhodes M. P. 1995. Wing morphology and flight behaviour of the golden-tipped Bat, Phoniscus papuensis (Dobson) (Chiroptera : Vespertilionidae). Australian Journal of Zoology 43, 657–663.
Schulz M. 1995a. A preliminary investigation of the Golden-tipped Bat Kerivoula papuensis in the Wet Tropics, north-eastern Queensland. Report to the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Cairns (unpublished).
Schulz M. 1995b. Utilisation of suspended bird nests by the Golden-tipped Bat (Kerivoula papuensis) in Australia. Mammalia 59, 280–283.
Schulz M. 1998. Bats in bird nests in Australia: a review. Mammal Review 28, 69–76.
Schulz M. and de Oliveira M.C. 1995. Microchiropteran fauna of Kroombit Tops, central Queensland, including a discussion on survey techniques. Australian Zoologist 30, 71–77.
Schulz M. and Wainer J. 1997. Diet of the golden-tipped bat Kerivoula papuensis (Microchiroptera) from north-eastern New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Zoology, London 243, 653–658
Walton D.W., Busby J.R. and Woodside D.P. 1992. Recorded and predicted distribution of the Golden-tipped Bat Phoniscus papuensis (Dobson, 1878) in Australia. Australian Zoologist 28, 52–54.
Woodside D.P. 1995. Golden-tipped Bat Kerivoula papuensis. pp. 490–491 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Authors for the species