'Demonic' bat species found in Vietnam

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Researchers from the Hungarian Natural History Museum and Fauna & Flora International have discovered a tiny bat species in Vietnam, the Mongabay.com website reported.

The bat species, described as "diminutive but demonic-looking", is the Beelzebub tube-nosed bat, or Murina beelzebub.

It was among three previously unknown bat species which belong to a group known as tube-nosed bats found recently in southern Indochina, according to Fauna & Flora International.

"We chose the name Beelzebub to reflect the dark 'diabolic' coloration of the new species, and its fierce protective behavior", said Gabor Csorba of HNHM in a statement.

The Murina beelzebub, like the other two tube-nosed bats discovered, depends on the tropical forest for its survival. The bats are especially vulnerable to ongoing deforestation in the region, researchers warn.

Paul Racey of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Bat Specialist Group added that because bat fauna is so poorly known, there are probably many more bat species to be discovered in the region.

"Though bats already represent nearly a third of Southeast Asian mammals, recent genetic research suggests that the true number of species in the region may be twice that presently known," Racey said.

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