phyllostomidae

White-winged Vampire Bat - Diaemus youngi 

This bat is Diaemus youngi (Chiroptera - Phyllostomidae), one of the three extant species of vampire bats. Like the other two species (Desmodus rotundus and Diphylla ecaudata), this one is also neotropical in distribution (ranging from Mexico to South America), and also hematophagous (blood-feeding), but in this case feed mostly on blood from various bird species, including free-ranging poultry species (chickens, Guinea fowl, and turkeys), as also does Diphylla ecaudata.

The three species of vampire bats are the only mammals that obtain all nutrition from vertebrate blood (sanguinivore or hematophagy). Because of the unique challenges of this dietary niche, vampire bats possess a suite of behavioral, physiological, and morphological specializations. Morphological specializations include a dentition characterized by small, bladelike, non-occlusive cheek teeth, large canines, and extremely large, procumbent, sickle-shaped upper central incisors. Anticoagulants in  the saliva of the bats ensure that blood flows freely.

D. youngi is commonly referred to as White-winged Vampire Bat, because the edges of the wings are white, and the membrane between the second and third fingers is largely white.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Gcarter2 (CC BY-SA 2.5) | Locality: not indicated

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Tent-making bats are discerning builders

At least 14 species of neotropical bats in the family Phyllostomidae have been reported to modify leaves of plants to construct tents as roost. Each species of tent-making bat has one or more distinctive styles of tent construction and may utilize one or more species of plant.

Several studies suggest that tents provide bat with shelter to hide from terrestrial and arboreal predators, and also provide them with refuge from rain, wind, and high light intensities. 

Roosting in tents is believed to confer protection from potential predator, because most plants utilized for tents have very long petioles and would be easily moved by a terrestrial predator approaching from the ground or a snake moving up the petiole. Moreover, since tent roosts are relatively open, they provide bats with a clear view of potential predator approaching and the possibility to escape.

Tent Roosting may also allow some species of bats to frequently change roosts and thus avoid high rates of ectoparasite infection that are characteristic of bats roosting in more permanent sites, such as caves, hollow trees, and buildings.

It also has been hypothesized that a selective force in the evolution of bat tent construction is a polygenous mating system in which males construct tents in order to attract females.

Anyway, it’s a fact that tent-making bats choose the leaves to construct their tents, selecting leaves with specific characteristics including height and angle of the stem. Specifically, the Thomas’s fruit-eating batArtibeus watsoni (pictured), utilizes about 20 different plant species for tent construction, half of which are palms, having special preference for the Asterogyne martiana (Arecaceae) palm, and avoiding leaves higher than 5m.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Peter Nijenhuis | Locality: Rainforest around Rara Avis, Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica.

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