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Molecular evidence places bats in the Laurasiatheria.

 Order CHIROPTERA--bats

Morphology [Fig. 15-3]

Bat Wings and Tails

  1. forelimb modified for flight
    1. Wing membrane supported by elongate metacarpals and digits 2-5
    2. Modification of shoulder girdle and musculature
    3. Sternum usually keeled
  2. Uropatagium [Fig. 15-3B]
  3. Hindlimbs relatively small, knee directed outward and backward


Bat Flight

  1. Bat Flight from the UCMP
  2. Aerodynamics of Bat and Bird Flight from Dr. Steven Carr
  3. Terminology
    1. lift
    2. drag
    3. camber
    4. angle of attack
    5. aspect ratio
    6. Wing Loading


Megachiroptera--"flying foxes", non-echolocating bats

Family Pteropodidae--Old World fruit bats [figs. 15-13 - 15-18]
  1. Australian, Oriental, Ethiopian, Middle East, some Oceanic islands
  2. 42 genera, 166 species
  3. body size 15-1600 g, wingspan up to 2 m.
  4. use vision for orientation (large eyes)
  5. only Roussettus echolocates (by using audible tongue clicks)
  6. do not hibernate
  7. pinna simple (no tragus)
  8. no nose or facial ornaments
  9. second digit of wing free of third, usually clawed
  10. frugivores and nectivores
  11. pollinators and seed dispersers
  12. mostly nocturnal
  13. larger species congregate in communal roosts


 Microchiroptera, echolocating bats

17 families [Fig. 13.11]


  1. echolocation through ultrasonic sounds produced in larynx and emitted through nose or mouth enables bats to occupy at night niche filled by birds [pp. 448-463]
  2. many are heterothermic and hibernate
  3. pinna often complex, tragus or antitragus present
  4. nose or facial ornaments often present
  5. second digit of wing without claw, completely enclosed in wing membrane [Fig. 15-3]

Nearctic Microchiropteran Families
Emballonuridae--sac-winged bats, ghost bats [Fig. 13.16]
  1. Neotropical, Ethiopian, Palearctic, Oriental, Australian
  2. 13 genera, 51 species
  3. often with glandular sac anterior to elbow joint in wing membrane (propatagium)
  4. tail emerges from dorsal surface of relatively large uropatagium
Noctilionidae--fishing or bull-dog bats [fig. 15-31]]
  1. Neotropical (1 genus, 2 species)
  2. pointed muzzle with strongly projected pad, heavy lips
  3. insectivorous and piscivorous
  4. feet with sharp, recurved claws
Mormoopidae--leaf-chinned bats
  1. Southwestern U.S., Mexico, Neotropical
  2. 2 genera, 8 species
  3. conspicuous leaf-like flap of skin on chin
  4. insectivorous
  5. Texas genus: Mormoops; Mormoops megalophylla
Phyllostomidae--leaf-nosed bats, vampire bats
  1. 55 genera, 160 species
  2. Southwestern U.S., Mexico, Neotropical
  3. phyllostomatid2.jpg (12795 bytes) conspicuous nose leaf present on muzzle [figs. 7.15, 13.22].  Photograph © 2001by Dr. Allan H. Chaney,  used  with permission.  Click on image to enlarge.
  4. variable diets: insects, fruit, blood, lizards, rodents, etc.
    1. fruit eaters: ecological equivalents of Pteropodidae
    2. nectar and pollen feeders [pp. 134-136]
      1. Texas genera: Leptonycteris, Choeronycteris.
    3. frog eaters
    4. Desmodontinae [figs. 15-33, 15.-34]
      1. sanguivores
      2. Diphylla the  hairy-legged vampire is known from a single record in west Texas; feeds on birds
      3. Vampire Bat locomotion
Vespertilionidae--evening bats, or common bats
  1. cosmopolitan
  2. most speciose bat family: 48 genera, 407 species [Table 13.5]
  3. tragus prominent [figs.13.2Ba-c, 13.26 ]
  4. tail extends to margin of uropatagium
  5. mainly insectivorous
  6. Texas vespertilionids known from Kleberg County): Myotis(*), Pipistrellus(*), Eptesicus, Lasiurus(*), Nycticeius(*)
  7. Links to species accounts in the Mammals of Texas-Online

Plecotus townsendi--big eared bat.   Photograph  2001by Dr. Allan H. Chaney,  used  with permission.  Click on image to enlarge.

Molossidae--free-tailed bats
  1. Cosmopolitan

  2. 16 genera, 100 species

  3. 1st and 5th digit of feet with fringe of stiff bristles
  4. tail extends well beyond margin of uropatagium
  5. fastest flying of the bats: high aspect ratio wings [Fig. 13.4F]
  6. insectivorous
  7. Texas molossids:  Nyctinomops, Eumops,


REPRODUCTION - pp. 392-396

  1. Delayed Fertilization
    1. Adaptation to winter dormancy. 
    2. Common in hibernating, north temperate insect eating bats (e.g. Vespertilionidae -some Myotis, etc.); also some tropical species
    3. General sequence
    4. pattern in Myotis lucifigus
  2. Delayed Implantation
    1. a few bats
  3. Delayed Development
    1. occurs in both micro- (some Myotis, some phyllostomids (Neotropical fruit bats, etc.) and macrochiropterans) 
    2. also a synchronizing strategy related to resource availability
    3. Artebeus jamaicensis has both delayed implantation and delayed development


  1. Desmodus rotundus
    1. reciprocal altruism in vampire bats [pp.566-567]
    2. reciprocal altruism and human behavior
  2. Hypsignathus monstrosus 
    1. hammer-headed bats
    2. leks [pp. 256-257] 


  1. How North American Bats Survive the Winter
  2. adaptive hypothermia (pp. 422-423) 
  3. migration

ECHOLOCATION [pp. 448-463]

  1. bat detectors:  Seeing In The Dark by M. Brock Fenton
  2. Seeing in the dark
  3. avoiding being eaten: Sounds of Silence by Jacqueline J. Belwood
  4. Sound Wars: How bats and bugs evolve new weapons and defenses.  Brock Fenton


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