Meet a new prince of the underworld—the Beelzebub bat.
Named for its "diabolic" coloration, the creature is one of three new species of tube-nosed bat recently discovered in Southeast Asia, a new study says. (Related pictures: "Tube-Nosed Bat, More Rare Species Found.")
"It has a black head and dark back fur, both of which are a sharp contrast to its whitish belly. This is the only bat species in the area with such coloration," said study co-author Gabor Csorba, a biologist at the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest.
Despite the fiendish name, Beelzebub bats are typically shy creatures, doing their best to avoid humans in their remote rain forest habitat in Vietnam, scientists say. If captured, however, the bats can turn fierce, noted study co-author Neil Furey, a biologist with the conservation group Fauna & Flora International.
"Once in the hand, they will do their best to escape," Furey said. "In essence, they exhibit a 'flight' first and 'fight' second response—the latter only when they have no other option."
The new tube-nosed bat species are described in the current issue of the Journal of Mammalogy.