Synthesys+ VA project SYNTH4VA1Chiroptera "COVID-19 Chiropteran knowledge base" (NHMW part)

  • Langnitschke Tim
Publication date: 11 Aug 2023
Publisher: Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (NHMW)
Collections: 1. Zoology
Resource type: Dataset
License: CC BY
CC BY 4.0 International
Tags: Chiroptera Mammalia
Countries: Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Solomon Islands, Bulgaria, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Chad, China, Taiwan, Province of China, Congo, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Tanzania, United Republic of, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Kosovo


This dataset was digitised as part of the Synthesys+ Virtual Access programme for the SYNTHVA1Chiroptera project "Covid-19 Chiroptera knowledgebase". The data provided here are a subset of the mammal collection of the Natural History Museum Vienna. The following summary refers to the entire project, in which a total of seven institutions were involved with the digitisation and publication of the desired data.

Project PI was Gabor Csorba from  the Hungarian Natural History Museum.

Amidst the pandemic caused by the pathogen SARS-CoV-2, the virus’s animal origin is a critical mystery to solve. More than 200 novel coronaviruses have been found in bats so far, and cca. 35% of bat virome sequenced to date is composed of coronaviruses. But still only a fraction of the known species of the second most speciose order of mammals have been screened for viruses. Of the Coronaviridae family the most similar virus to the one which causes the recent pandemic was found in a common Southeast Asian horseshoe bat species, Rhinolophus affinis. Experts of the CETAF’s COVID-19 Taskforce have suggested to accumulate our present knowledge on the distribution, viral information and basic ecological demands not only of the horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae) but also the phylogenetically most closely related families, Hipposideridae and Rhinonycteridae. Some recent studies in viruses were not always rigorous enough to deposit the study material in publicly available collections (which, among other advantages, makes the identification testable). However, it is essential to know if material currently preserved in collections can be useful for subsequent virus studies. For this reason, a list of material (more than 20 thousand specimens of the above families estimated) housed in European collections participating in the Synthesys+ virtual access call, would be essential. The short and long run impact of unlock specimens, tissue and fluid samples, DNA extracts, as well as data associated with these bat families is immeasurable, especially considering the challenges we are facing now and at a global scale. The present proposal expects a two-fold impact 1) liberation of massive amount of crucial data and biological material to support research in bat-coronavirus-human interactions and 2) trigger a movement of public recognition of museum collections as key player in public health crises.


Agency Program Proj. Id Proj. Title
European Commission Synthesys+ Virtual Access Call 1 SYNTH4VA1Chiroptera COVID-19 Chiropteran knowledge base


File Description Size
Synthesis_NHMW_Chiroptera_database.xlsx Specimen list (MS Excel format) 0.73 MB
Synthesis_NHMW_Chiroptera_database_all_families.csv Specimen list all families (CSV format) 0.7 MB
Synthesis_NHMW_Chiroptera_database_Hipposideridae.csv Specimen list Hipposideridae (CSV format) 0.2 MB Selected specimen photographs 204.07 MB
Synthesis_NHMW_Chiroptera_database_Rhinolophidae.csv Specimen list Rhinolophidae (CSV format) 0.51 MB
Synthesis_NHMW_Chiroptera_database_Rhinonycteridae.csv Specimen list Rhinonycteridae (CSV format) 0.01 MB