Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat - endangered species listing

This species is now known as Mormopterus eleryi Reardon and McKenzie, 2008
[NSW Government Gazette No. 87, 12 June 2099, Page 3029]

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list the Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat, Mormopterus 'Species 6' as an ENDANGERED SPECIES in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Act. Listing of endangered species is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. The Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat, Mormopterus 'Species 6', is a small insectivorous bat (Adam et al. 1988). These bats are a light sandy colour on the back and slightly paler below, and individuals attain a weight up to 6g (Churchill 1998). The Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat differs from other species of Mormopterus by its light build and long thin muzzle and, although it is yet to be formally described, it is genetically distinct (Adams et al. 1988).

2. The Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat is distributed from the southern half of the Northern Territory to central Queensland and north-western NSW. In NSW, the species has been recently recorded from only three disjunct locations: three individuals from Gundabooka National Park, south of Bourke (Ellis 2001); one individual from Bebo State Forest, north of Warialda (RACD 2002); and two individuals near Bonshaw (K. Taylor pers. comm.).

3. Knowledge of the ecology of the Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat is limited, however evidence suggests that the species depends on hollows and tree fissures for roosting sites. All other Australian species from the Molossidae, which includes the genus Mormopterus, generally roost in tree hollows and fissures (Churchill 1998). Further, the 1997 Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat record was captured together with six known tree roosting bat species (Ellis 2002).

4. The Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat appears to be extremely rare throughout its range. Nationally, it has been recorded from only 15 locations (M. Pennay, pers. comm.). Despite recent intensive bat surveys at 300 sites throughout the Cobar Peneplain, Darling Riverine Plains and Brigalow Belt South bioregions (M. Pennay, pers. comm.), the species has been recorded from only two locations in NSW. Although it is possible that this species is difficult to detect using conventional methods, other similar-sized species of Mormopterus from north-west NSW are readily detected by these techniques (M. Pennay, pers. comm.).

5. The range of the Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat coincides with arid and semi-arid areas of NSW that have been highly modified by human activities (Parnaby 1999). Clearing and removal of hollow bearing trees as a consequence of firewood collection and agricultural and forestry practices, reduces the availability of roosting sites for bats. Both 'Clearing of native vegetation' and 'Removal of dead wood and dead trees' are listed as key threatening processes in NSW. The threat to the Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat from loss of habitat would be exacerbated by its apparent rarity.

6. In view of the above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat, Mormopterus 'Species 6', is likely to become extinct in nature in New South Wales unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate.


Associate Professor Paul Adam


Scientific Committee

Proposed Gazettal date: 17/09/04

Exhibition period: 17/09/04 - 29/10/04



Adams M, Reardon TR, Baverstock PR, Watts CHS (1988) Electrophoretic resolution of species boundaries in Australian Microchiroptera. IV Molossidae (Chiroptera). Australian Journal of Biological Sciences 40, 417-433.

Churchill S (1998) 'Australian bats.' (Reed New Holland: Sydney).

Ellis M (2001) The first record of the Hairy-nosed Freetail Bat in New South Wales. Australian Zoologist 31, 608-609.

Parnaby H (1999) 'The management of bats in New South Wales wood-production forests.' NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Environmental Heritage Monograph Series, Forest Issues Report No. 5, Sydney.

RACD (2002) 'Brigalow Belt South Stage 2 Vertebrate Fauna Survey, Analysis and Modelling Projects.' Resource and Conservation Division, Planning NSW, Sydney.


About the NSW Scientific Committee


Page last updated: 29 August 2014