Several years in the making, this book is co-published by Wits University Press and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). It is a full-colour book including colour plates of bats, skull photographs, and spectrograms of bat echolocation calls. Full-colour distribution maps comprise the core of the book, and these accurate point maps (with modeled potential ranges overlaid) illustrate the distribution of 102 species of bats throughout south-central Africa. Previous works provided only shaded range maps. The maps included here are based on some 5500 species-locality records based on museum specimens (from 15 museum collections around the world), of which most were personally identified by one of the authors.
Significantly, the book includes several synthetic chapters on the evolution, biogeography, ecology and echolocation of bats. Species accounts provide information on a wide range of biological topics and include colour photographs of bats (82 species), skull and dental photographs (85 species) and accurate time-expanded echolocation call spectrograms (56 species). Identification is aided by detailed character matrices (an acknowledged improvement on dichotomous keys), which are useful for identification in the field as well as from museum voucher specimens.
Ara Monadjem is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Swaziland; Peter John Taylor is the Curator of Mammals at the Durban Natural Science Museum, and the Convener of the Durban Bat Interest Group; FPD Cotterill is the ERANDA Research Fellow at the Africa Earth Observatory Network (AEON) and Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Cape Town, and M Corrie Schoeman is a Lecturer in the School of Biological and Conservation Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.
"[...] contains an extraordinary wealth of information on these animals. It is a synthesis of over a century of research in the southern portion of the continent. The authors, some of the foremost scientists in the study of African bats, have done an exceptional job in making this information available to natural historians, bat enthusiasts, and scientists alike. There is vitality and precision to the text that clearly reflects their intimate knowledge of these animals in the field and their detailed studies of specimens in museums around the world."
– Steven M. Goodman, Field Museum of Natural History, USA