Species distribution modelling:

Microchiroptera of Australia and PNG

Family Megadermatidae

The Family Megadermatidae is represented in the Australian and PNG region by a single species, Macroderma gigas, in an endemic genus. All confirmed records come from Australia with only one incidental observation from southern PNG (Flannery 1995). Other members of the family occur in the Indonesian archipelago and south-east Asia including the Indian sub-continent (Nowak 1994).

Phylogenetically, two supertress of the Order Chiroptera agree the megaderamtids are grouped with the hipposiderids and rhinolophids in a distinct clade that diverged very early from the other microchiropteran clades (Jones et al. 2002; Agnarsson et al. 2011) although they differ about the ordering of braching within the megadermatid-hipposiderid-rhinolophid clade.

Macroderma gigas has undergone significant range contraction over the last 10,000 years (Richards et al. 2008) and the family has seen a sharp decline in species richness within Australia since the Miocene. There is some concern regarding its long-term survival (Richards et al. 2008) through its reliance on a small number (about 10) communal maternity sites, and its disappearence from Central Australia in the 1970s (Churchill 2008). My modelling (see species account) suggests that, overall, there will be a slight loss of climate suitability. However, the picture is a bit more complex than this summary figure would suggest. The loss is actually in marginally suitable climate in central Australia. The areas of highly suitable climate in the tropical north of the continent increase dramatically by 2050, so on the basis of climate suitability, the prospects for the species are reasonably good.


Agnarsson, I., C.M. Zambrana-Torrelio, N.P. Flores-Saldana, and L.J. May-Collado. 2011. A time-calibrated species-level phylogeny of bats (Chiroptera, Mammalia). PLoS Currents 3:RRN1212.

Churchill, S. 2008. Australian Bats. Second edition. Jacana Books (Allen & Unwin), Crows Nest, NSW.

Flannery, T.F. 1995. Mammals of New Guinea. Revised and updated edition. Reed, Chatswood, NSW.

Jones, K.E., A. Purvis, A. MacLarnon, O.R.P. Bininda-Emonds, and N.B. Simmons. 2002. A phylogenetic supertree of the bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera). Biological Reviews 77:223–259.

Nowak, R.M. 1994. Walker's Bats of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Richards, G.C., S. Hand, K.N. Armstrong, and L.S. Hall. 2008. Ghost Bat, Macroderma gigas. Pages 449-450 in Van Dyck, S. and Strahan, R. (eds) The Mammals of Australia. Third Edition. New Holland, Sydney.

Index to species accounts for Family Megadermatidae

Genus Species
Macroderma Macroderma gigas

Pooling the results

What is the outlook for the Microchiropteran fauna of Australia and Papua New Guinea? By pooling the results of each species distribution model, I found some interesting trends for certain groups of species. Continued ...

Microchiropteran families present in Australia-PNG:

Microchiopteran families present in Australia and Papua New Guinea:

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