Bat of the Week: Thyroptera tricolor

Common name: Spix’s disk winged bat

photo credit: Top left: Christian Zielger, top right: Brock Fenton, bottom left: Alan Henderson, bottom right: adw.edu

photo credit: Top left: Christian Zielger, top right: Brock Fenton, bottom left: Alan Henderson, bottom right: adw.edu

 

Where to find them: Southern Mexico to the South Eastern Edge of Brazil

Roosting: Spix’s disk winged bat roost in the partly unfurled leaves of trees of the genus Heliconia (palm). Their roost colony size is about 6. These bats change roosts often, every day or so, because as leaves mature they unfurl and are no longer habitable roosts.

Diet:  T. tricolor is an aerial insectivore, catching insects while in flight. It consumes about 1 gram of insects a day, including beetles and flies. 

Unique traits: At the base of their thumbs and ankles is a disk-shaped suction cups that they use to cling to the  Heliconia leaves in which they roost. One of these disks is strong enough to support the bat’s entire weight. They also posses “warts” on their noses, it is hypothesized these “warts” are extra sensory organs.

Recent research:  T. tricolor uses call-and response systems to find group members. Flying bats can discriminate between the inquiry and response calls emitted by group and non-group members (Chaverri 2012).

Information from http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/

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