Environment Australia, 1999
ISBN 0 642 2546 363
Taxon summary: Tube-nosed Insectivorous Bat
Scientific name: Murina florium Thomas, 1908
Common name: Tube-nosed Insectivorous Bat
Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened)
Past range and abundance
Unknown. Only discovered in Australia in 1981.
Present range and abundance
Poorly known. Has been recorded from approximately twenty localities in the Wet Tropics region extending from Mt Zero near Paluma in the south (Schulz et al. 1999) north to the Shiptons Flat/Cedar Bay area (Spencer et al. 1992), and at elevations from near sea level to 1200 metres. The southern and northern limits of the species distribution are not well known. The species has also been recorded from further north at Iron Range but it has also been suggested that this may represent a second, as yet undescribed, species. Available information indicates that the species is not uncommon in its currently recognised range and that this range is continuing to expand with increased survey work in the Wet Tropics region.
This species forages in the canopy and sub-canopy of rainforest, (varying from lowland mesophyll rainforest to upland simple microphyll vine fern forest and simple notophyll vine forest) and in the ecotone between wet sclerophyll and rainforest (Whybird 1996). In some localities it has been found in rainforest with a eucalypt overstorey, and recently has been found in both wet and dry sclerophyll forest without a rainforest sub canopy (Schulz unpub.). Observation of free flying, released and radio tracked individuals suggests that they avoid cleared areas. This species uses a variety of external roosts in rainforest including the hanging nests of yellow-throated scrubwrens (Sericornis citreogularis) and fernwrens (Oreoscopus gutteralis), vertically suspended dead leaf clusters and epiphytic ferns (Schulz and Hannah 1996, 1998).
This species has been difficult to capture or record in the past using conventional techniques of trapping or ultrasonic detection. New techniques in trapping (including the use of lures) and recent advances in ultrasonic detection have improved the ability of surveys to detect the species (Whybird 1996, Clague et al. 1995).
Threats to this species are not well understood. However potential threats include clearing and fragmentation of forest, forest harvesting operations and predation by domestic and feral cats (known species roosts are within 5m of the ground). A large proportion of the range of the species is contained within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA) or National Parks and thus the species should be sufficiently protected in these areas. However there are important sites in the Moomin and Mt Baldy State Forests which are currently not reserved land tenure or included in the WTWHA. Logging still continues in part of the species range, leading to an inferred decline in numbers and fragmentation of populations.
- Protection of the species in Mt Baldy State Forest from forest harvesting activities.
- Monitor populations within the WTWHA.
- Undertake targetted surveys for the species at Iron Range and clarify the taxonomic status of this population.
- Conduct targetted surveys to the south and north of the presently known range to clarify the limits of distribution.
- Encourage habitat retention and restoration where possible to provide corridors linking existing fragmented rainforest and wet sclerophyll habitats.
Clague C.I., 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 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.
Hill J.E. and Rozendaal F.G. 1989. Records of bats (Microchiroptera) from Wallacea. Zool. Med. Leiden 63, 97–122.
Richards G.C., Hall L.S., Helman P.M. and Churchill S.M. 1982. First discovery of the rare tube-nosed insectivorous bat (Murina) in Australia. Australian Mammalogy 5, 149–151.
Richards G.C., Coles R.B. and Spencer H.J. 1995. Tube-nosed Insect Bat Murina florium. pp. 496–497 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Schulz M. and Hannah D. 1996. Notes on the Tube-nosed Insect Bat Murina florium (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) from the Atherton Tableland, north-eastern Queensland, Australia. Mammalia 60, 312–316.
Schulz M. and Hannah D. 1998. Relative abundance, diet and roost selection in the tube-nosed insect bat, Murina florium on the Atherton Tablelands, Australia. Wildlife Research 25, 261–272.
Schulz M., Kelly A., Wang J. and Hogan L. 1999. Preliminary assessment of old growth, fauna and flora values of proposed sales areas in Mt Zero and Seaview Holding, Ingham District. Report to Department of Natural Resources, Queensland (unpublished).
Spencer H.J., Schedvin N. and Flick B.M. 1992. Re-discovery of Australia’s rarest bat, Murina florium, the insectivorous tube-nosed bat, in lowland forest in far north Queensland. Bat Research News 33, 76.
Van Deusen H.M. 1961. New Guinea record of the tube-nosed insectivorous bat, Murina. Journal of Mammalogy 42, 531–533.
Whybird O.J. 1996. An investigation into the vertical stratification of the Chiroptera of tropical Australian rainforests. Honours thesis, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Queensland, Brisbane (unpublished).
Authors for the species