Bats’ nocturnal habits and life on the wing limit our knowledge of the group’s distribution and diversity. In this study, researchers create state-of-the-art distribution models of 250 African bat species using an unparalleled amount of occurrence data (including GBIF-mediated records). Stacking the models, they conclude that bat diversity generally increases towards the equator but varies substantially within the equatorial zone. They identify centres of endemism in areas characterized by substantial elevation ranges, and hotspots of species richness including an area on the Semliki River southwest of Lake Albert, home to no fewer than 84 bat species. The study’s conclusion presents a very high-resolution view of mammalian biodiversity data that covers a vast geographic and taxonomic scope.
Herkt, K. M. B., Barnikel, G., Skidmore, A. K., & Fahr, J. (2016). A high-resolution model of bat diversity and endemism for continental Africa. Ecological Modelling, 320, 9–28. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.09.009