Friday, December 28, 2007

Yucatan bat

I'm going to post a couple of bat photos from last summer's trip to Mexico. You can find more of my pictures of bats here and some of my photos from Chichen and elsewhere in the Yucatan here. This Sturnira bat was caught in a net just outside the Tzabnah cave near the village of Tecoh. You could easily identify these fruit bats by the dark fur on the shoulder, particularly dark on this individual. This is a member of the Phyllostomids, the leaf-nosed bats -- see the leaf on its nose? They are a very remarkable and diverse group of neotropical bats. Members of this family eat a wide variety of foods, from nectar, pollen, and fruit to insects, fish, birds, and even blood. Yes, the three species of vampire bats are Phyllostomids! Sadly we didn't find any of them. Neither did we find the False Vampire -- with its 3-foot wingspan (!) it eats pretty much everything except blood. I think we caught at least ten different species that night, but I don't remember the name of the Sturnira species we were catching nor do I have the complete list. If you're reading this and you were there -- send me your notes! The nose leaves are specially evolved for echolocation. Of course they still have eyes, pretty large in this individual. But they can also "see" through their nose!


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