(CNN)Four new species of African leaf-nosed bats have been discovered, and they're related to the horseshoe bats that have become known as the host for novel coronavirus.
The new bat species were announced in a study published Wednesday in a special issue of the journal ZooKeys, focused on the pandemic.
Identifying individual species of bats and understanding more about them is crucial to providing a foundation for information related to the spread of diseases like Covid-19.
Learning more about bats, both the benefits they offer as well as how they carry and transmit diseases to humans, is key to protecting both bats and humans, the researchers said. Although much attention is being focused on bats as carriers of disease at the moment, they also pollinate crops, disperse seeds and eat insects like mosquitoes.
But bats remain largely mysterious to us. Researchers estimate that we've only identified 25% of all bat species in the last 15 years. They're difficult to locate and study, so we lack information about where they live, how they evolved and their true role in the world around them.