Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Bat of the Week: Micronycteris microtis

Common name: Common Big-eared Bat

Photo credit: Left: Christian Ziegler, top right: Inga Geipel, bottom right: Santana et al. 2011

Photo credit: Left: Christian Ziegler, top right: Inga Geipel, bottom right: Santana et al. 2011


Where to find them: Southern Mexico, Central America, and the northern half of South America.

Roosting: Common big-eared bats roost in small groups of 4-6 in a variety of structures, including hollow trees, logs, caves, culverts, buildings, and animal burrows.

Diet: M. microtis is a diverse animalivore that gleans all kinds of insects, from beetles to dragonflies to caterpillars. The known prey species of these bats span 12 different orders of arthropods. In addition, it has been observed to kill and eat small lizards, making it the smallest known carnivorous bat.

Unique traits: To manage the different mechanical properties of its diverse array of food, the skull shape of M. microtis appears to have rapidly evolved in order to maximize its mechanical advantage and it can easily modify its biting behavior when eating prey of different  hardness (Santana et al. 2011).

Recent research: M. microtis can use echolocation to detect and capture completely silent and motionless prey even in acoustically cluttered environments without relying on olfactory or visual signals–a feat previously thought impossible (Geipel et al. 2013).

Information from

Bat of the Week: Uroderma bilobatum

Photo credit: Clockwise from top left [Rich Hoyer][] [ARKiVE:Robin Monchatre] [Doris Potter]

Photo credit: Clockwise from top left [Rich Hoyer][] [ARKiVE:Robin Monchatre] [Doris Potter]

  • Where to find them: Southern Mexico to Peru and SE Brazil.
  • Roosting: To make their home, these bats bite along the main vein of the large leaves of palms. This causes leaves to droop and form a “tent”, which provides shelter for the bats, particularly from rain. They roost in colonies from 2 to 59 individuals and they roost tightly clumped together.
  • Unique traits: These bats are easy to spot; they have a white stripe above and below each eye and a narrow white stripe along their back.
  • Diet: They feed primarily on fruit.
  • Recent research: Coconut palms were introduced recently in the Neotropics and  tent-making bats have developed the ability to use them for roosting. These bats seem to be expanding their range following the expanded distribution of this exotic plant species and into human-modified areas.

Information from

Bat of the Week: Sturnira lillium

 Little yellow-shouldered bat

Photo credit: Clockwise from top left [ Merlin Tuttle] [] [] [Merlin Tuttle]
Photo credit: Clockwise from top left[ Merlin Tuttle][][][Merlin Tuttle]
  • These bats are frugivorous, primarily feeding on fruit from the Solanaceae family.
  • These bats often roost alone, but can roost with up to 10 members.
  • Bats have scent glands on the shoulder. Some say the scent smells like iodine, others say the scent is spicy.
  • They are very important in terms of seed dispersal since they eat a variety of fruits from a variety of plant families, not limited to Solanaceae. 

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