Newly Discovered Bat Named for Donor

DATE: Oct. 3, 2006
CONTACT: John Davis,

LUBBOCK – To say thanks for a $5 million donation, a Texas Tech University biologist has named a new species of South American bat after Ben E. Keith, founder of the food and beverage distribution corporation.

Dr. Robert Baker, Horn professor of biological sciences at TTU, said he decided to name the bat after Keith when his estate donated the money to build the Natural Science Research Laboratory wing at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

The new wing will hold an official grand opening ceremony next year.

“His name will forever be in the systematic literature,” Baker said. “There are probably less than 1,000 undescribed species of mammals for which there are no available scientific names. It’s a way of saying thank you. We biologists don’t have many ways of saying ‘thank you,’ but we hope the Ben E. Keith family will see this as a scientific thank you.”

The omnivorous bat, known as Carollia benkeithi, was confused for years with its close cousin, Carollia castanea. It lives in the Amazon Jungle of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.

Earlier this year, Baker discovered that the bat was genetically different from its cousin. The research was published in the Occasional Papers of the Museum of Texas Tech.

For more information, visit and click on the link labeled Mitochondrial DNA Sequence, Karyotypic, and Morphologic Variation in the Carollia castanea Species Complex (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) with Description of a New Species.

CONTACT: Robert Baker, Horn professor of biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2702,