Introducing Hypsugo dolichodon, a rather horrific-looking new species of bat discovered in the rainforests of Vietnam and Lao PDR. Translated, the name means "the long-toothed pipistrelle," which judging from these photos seems like a perfectly appropriate moniker.
As reported in Mongabay, the bat was actually discovered back in 1997 by Charles M. Francis and Antonio Guillén, but because it's so similar to a closely related bat, the Chinese pipistrelle (Hypsugo pulveratus), it took 17 years to prove that it was in fact a distinct species. Dolichodon's fangs are not only longer, they're also bigger.
Why the big fangs? Mongabay explains:
"The large canines may be important in grabbing prey," [lead researcher Tamás] Görföl said. "It may allow the bat to catch larger insects or beetles with harder exoskeleton; this may be the result of niche segregation."
This means that evolution may have allowed the new species to go after different prey or utilize different habitat than its close relatives, essentially carving out its own ecological niche.
Yikes, "carving out" is right. Handsome fella, ain't he?
Images: Judith L. Eger