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 eol.org.

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