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Peruvian long-snouted bat

Platalina genovensium

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What are the characteristics of the species?

  • Platanoina genovensium is known as the Peruvian Longirostro Bat. It is an animal that feeds on nectar of flowers and fruits of cacti, so it performs functions of pollinator and disperser of seeds of cacti.

  • P. genovensium has the whole body pale brown. The back hair is approximately 8 mm long, the basal part is whitish, and the distal end is grayish brown. The hair of the belly is creamy white in its basal part and brown in the distal part, which gives it a general clear brown coloration.

  • The snout is elongated, the extensible tongue is covered with hairy papillae, and the jaw is thin. These characteristics allow this bat to feed on the nectar of tubular and long flowers of columnar cacti.

  • It is medium in size, with a total body length of 81 mm, an extension of 341 mm. The length of the forearm is between 50.0-50.5 mm and its weight between 19.5-19.9 grams.

Where do we study the species?

The study area was located in ELU 12 known as the coastal hills of bats. This area is an example of the western arid part of the Andes Department of Ica east of the sandy plains of Pisco.

What questions do we seek to answer with the study?

  • What is the abundance of P. genovensium in the study area and what factors explain its abundance in the area of ​​influence of the PERU LNG pipeline?

  • What other species of bats share the habitat with P. genovensium?

  • Did the pipeline construction have a measurable impact on P. genovensium populations?

What general results have we obtained to date?

  • P. genovensium is distributed from 1,090 to 2,540 meters above sea level.

  • It was confirmed that it feeds on pollen, fruits and disperses seeds of columnar cacti in the study area.

  • Tomopeas ravus was also recorded in the study area. We also found a permanent roost with seven individuals of P. genovensium.

  • An important factor that probably determines the abundance of P. genovensium is the flowering and fructification of the columnar cacti present in the study area, such as Browningia candelaris, Armatocereus sp., Weberbaurocereus rauhii and Neoraimondia arequipensis. This is an indicator that P. genovensium is dependent on cacti for its feeding.

  • No evidence of impact on bats was found due to the presence of the duct.

Why is the conservation of this species important?

  • According to Supreme Decree No. 034-2004-AG of Peruvian legislation, P. genovensium is categorized as a "Critically Endangered" species and as "Near Threatened" by the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

  • P. genovensium is an important species for maintaining the ecological balance of coastal desert habitats due to its relationship with columnar cacti since it contributes to the pollination and dispersal of seeds.

  • The loss of habitat and the use of the bat for traditional "medicinal" purposes are the main threats to P. genovensium. This species of bat depends on the columnar cacti and the destruction of desert habitats has a negative impact on its conservation. P. genovensium is used in traditional medicine, so it has a pressure for illegal extraction to be sold in the markets of the city of Arequipa and the Andean region.

Murciélago longirostro peruano (Platalina genovensium) (Foto: PERU LNG)