Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bat species - Artibeus

Our fifth species is called Artibeus.
The Neotropical fruit bats (Artibeus) are a genus of bats within the subfamily Stenodermatinae.[1] The genus consists of 19 species, which are native to Central and South America.
These bats grow to an average length of 5 to 10 cm, and a weight of 10 to 85 g. The fur is colored brown or gray on the top; the bottom side is brighter. In a few species, the faces have four light-colored stripes. The patagium, the skin between the legs, is very small, and they lack a tail – a general characteristic of the fruit bats. The ears are acuminated and like many other leaf-nosed bats the nose bears a small, sharp leaf which is used for echo sounding.
Like most bats, Neotropical fruit bats are nocturnal. They sleep in caves, houses, or other hideouts. Some species use large leaves to form "tents", which provide shelter from the weather and hide them from predators. Most species live in large groups. Artibeus jamaicensis – the best studied species – forms groups, consisting of one to three males, three to 14 females, and the shared offspring.
The diet of these bats mainly consists of fruit, but they eat pollen and insects too.

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