For much of the last third of the 20th century, the diversity of funnel-eared bats (family Natalidae) was underestimated. Although as many as four genera and 11 species were recognized by the mid 20th century, by the 1980s the family was traditionally listed as comprising a single genus of four or five species. In the past decade, the taxonomy of Natalidae has been updated by the discovery of new extant and fossil taxa, the rediscovery of taxa thought to be extinct, and the revalidation of old synonyms at the genus and species levels on the basis of new morphological and molecular evidence. Here, I provide a complete taxonomic revision of Natalidae based on the examination of all taxa described thus far within the family. Thirteen species are recognized here, including an extinct form. New diagnoses, descriptions, and illustrations are provided for each species, including summaries of published information on their natural history, discussions of their conservation status, and an illustrated identification key. The Natalidae appears to be an adaptively diverse clade of bats with distinct ecomorphs in terms of food acquisition, food processing, and mating systems.
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Vol. 2011 • No. 353