Gould’s Wattled Bat, Chalinolobus gouldii
Gould’s wattled bat (Chalinolobus gouldii) is a species of wattled bat that can be found in Australia. Its range includes New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Tasmania, and most of mainland Australia. It does occur in the Nullarbor Plain or in northern areas of Cape York Peninsula. It prefers a habitat within many areas, including woodlands and human populated areas. It derives its scientific and common name from John Gould, an English naturalist.
Gould’s wattled bat can reach an average body length of about 2.7 inches and a weight of about .4 ounces, making it the largest member of its genus, Chalinolobus. As is typical to members of genus, Gould’s wattled bat has a flesh-like lobe on each side of its mouth.
Gould’s bat is sociable and typically gathers in small colonies of up to thirty individuals, although colonies of up to 200 have been recorded. Males have been known to roost alone in some areas. This species is primarily arboreal, roosting in trees, but it can be seen roosting in man made structures like the basements or ceilings of buildings. In most area of its range, it does not hibernate, but in colder area it will enter a deep sleep known as torpor. This typically occurs between the months of May to September, but may last until December. In Organ Pipes National Park, this bat comprises 97 percent of all bats found in bat boxes.
The breeding season for Gould’s wattled bat varies depending upon its location. In western areas of Australia, these bats give birth around September to December, while in Victoria, birthing occurs between October and November. As is typical to bat species, females of this species are able to delay pregnancy for up to 33 days. This allows young to be birthed in optimal conditions. Females commonly give birth to twins.
The diet of Goudl’s wattled bat consists of many types of insects. In most areas of its range, moths are a main source of food, but beetles may also be consumed in high numbers. It will also consume flies, cockroaches, hemipterans, and lepidopterans, among other types. Although this species is insectivorous, it occasionally consumes small pieces of twigs and grass seeds. Gould’s wattled bat appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”
Image Caption: Chocolate Wattled Bat (Chalinolobus gouldii). Credit: Neville W. Cayley/Wikipedia