The Action Plan for Australian Bats
Recovery outline: Troughton's Sheathtail Bat
Scientific name: Taphozous troughtoni Tate, 1952
Common name: Troughton's Sheathtail Bat
Conservation status: Critically Endangered (B1, B2c)
Originally described as a ‘new species’ by Tate (1952), referring to ‘the large species of north central Australia’ and based on his own material collected from Mt. Isa. This view was taken despite being unable to resolve the taxonomic confusion over the real identity of T. australis and T. georgianus raised by Troughton (1925). McKean and Price (1967) retained the sub-species status of T. g. troughtoni as a ‘race’ of T. georgianus, a view also supported by Koopman (1984). Following these earlier taxonomic difficulties, the most recent revision of the Australian Emballonuridae by Chimimba and Kitchener (1991) recognises five species in the genus Taphozous, and clearly raises T. troughtoni to species level. As such, this species is the largest of the genus and, according to Chimimba and Kitchener (1991), does not belong to the T. georgianus size cline identified originally by McKean and Price (1967).
Unknown. Earlier taxonomic confusion included this species as part of the georgianus complex that is widely distributed over Australia (see Strahan 1983, 1995). In consideration of very meagre historical records, the former distribution is likely to be northern central Australia, in the southern Gulf region, as the first specimens were collected from Mt. Isa (Troughton 1925).
Very poorly known. Only six specimens have been collected (Tate 1952, Chimimba and Kitchener 1991) and it has only been recorded rarely in the last 34 years ie. since McKean and Price (1967). This species has been collected from only three localities in the general Mt Isa – Mary Kathleen – Cloncurry area: a cave next to the Rifle Creek Dam (type locality of Tate 1952), the Native Bee Mine close to Mt. Isa, and a mine at Ballara. There is a recent record (measured and echolocation call recorded) from a rocky escarpment near Gunpowder, Queensland (Hall and De Oliveira unpub.). There are possible recent unconfirmed records from a disused railway tunnel at Ballara, and from a disused mine on Brightlands Station near Cloncurry.
Roosting habitat open woodlands with spinifex Triodia spp., where it uses subterranean roosts such as caves and abandoned mines, as well as cracks and crevices in rocky escarpments. Roosting sites are similar to T. georgianus, and include entrances to caves and shallow overhangs which are not far from daylight. It is known to co-exist with T. georgianus as both species have been collected from the same (mine) roost (McKean and Price 1967, Chimimba and Kitchener 1991). No maternity sites have been located. Nothing is known of its foraging habitats.
Reasons for decline
From the limited data available, it is impossible to establish the size of the current population, whether it has declined and, if so, by how much. Destruction of one of the few known roost sites (the Native Bee Mine near Mt Isa), by mining activities in 1994, has been confirmed (Hall et al. 1998).
Conservation reserves on which species occurs
Other public land on which species occurs
Other land on which species occurs
Mining leases in the Mary Kathleen area (leases held by Mt Isa Mines Pty Ltd). Freehold properties south of Mary Kathleen and Cloncurry if a record on Brightlands Station is confirmed.
Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately?
- Search for extra localities from re examination of existing museum material.
- Clarify the taxonomic status of the species, from existing material if possible.
- If taxonomic status is confirmed:
- conduct field surveys to determine status and range