Monday, December 7, 2009

Bat species - Macrotus

Time to mention a few things about our next bat species. Always in devotion to "Batman Begins OST" and those who love bats. Or just love me, who love bats. :P
The California Leaf-nosed Bat (Macrotus californicus) is a species of bat in the Phyllostomidae family. It is found in Mexico and the United States. Its natural habitat is hot deserts. It is threatened by habitat loss.
California leaf-nosed bats can be found in Sonoran and Mojave Desert scrub habitats in the Colorado River valley in southern California, Nevada and Arizona, and throughout western Mexico. It is non-migratory and does not hibernate.
The California leaf-nosed bat weighs between 12 and 20 grams, has a wingspan of over 30 centimeters and a body length of over 6 centimeters, and is brown in color. As its name implies, it has a triangular fleshy growth of skin, called a noseleaf, protruding above the nose. This bat is the only bat of the Phyllostomidae family in the United States to have large ears, usually over 2.5 centimeters. It is also one of the most maneuverable in flight. With short, broad wings, it can fly at low speeds using minimal energy. Because of this adaptation, it is not suited for long-distance travel, and is non-migratory.
This bat has an unusual reproductive pattern. After breeding occurs in the fall, the embryos develop very slowly until March, when growth continues at a more normal rate before birth in May or June. Twins are common.
This bat is a "gleaning" insectivore which captures prey such as crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and sphinx moths straight from the ground or foliage rather than in flight. It prefers to use its large eyes to detect prey, although in total darkness it will switch to echolocation. It typically hunts within a few feet of the ground using its superior eyesight to search for insects. It does not alight to capture its prey, but hovers above it and snags it off the substrate. It then carries its prey to an open roost such as a porch or open building to dismember, then consume it.

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