SUMMARY: Mystacinidae
Common Name
: Short-tailed Bats
Taxonomy: Infraorder Yangochiroptera, Superfamily Vespertilionoidea (questionable), 1 genus (Mystacina), 1 species (questionable - M. tuberculata and M. robusta)
Distribution: New Zealand
Fossil Record:
Size Range: Forearm 40 - 49 mm, 12 - 35 g
Upper parts are greyish brown to brown and lower parts are paler. Thickest pelage of any species of bat.

Ears are separate and the tragus is long and pointed

Advanced locking shoulder joint. Limbs well adapted to quadrupedal locomotion. Each claw of the thumb and foot has a secondary talon at its ventral base. Talons may aid in terrestrial, arboreal, and burrowing behaviour.

Dental formula i1/1, c1/1, pm 2/2, m 3/3 = 28. Tongue is partly protrusive with fine papillae on its tip.

Membranes are thick and leathery along the sides of the body, forearm and lower leg. Wings can be tucked under these membranes when the bat is not in flight.

Short tail that protrudes from the dorsal surface of the uropatagium (similar to Emballonurids).

Roost in a wide variety of places including hollow trees, crevices and burrows. Groups of bats may use their teeth to burrow cavities through the wood of trees. Roost in colonies. Emerge late in the evening.

Diet includes fruit, nectar, pollen, and insects

Declines due to habitat destruction, introduced rats, accidental poisoning, and human disturbance of roosts.

M. tuberculata
reduced to sporadic populations. There may only be a few thousand left

M. robusta
may already be extinct; not seen since 1965

(from the books "Bats - A Natural History" and from "Walker's Bats of the World")