The northern range of Artibeus obscurus and Artibeus jamaicensis planirostris. ("American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae)", 2004; Emmons, 1997; Marques-Aguiar, 2007; Miller, et al., 2010; Nowak, 1999; Ortega and Castro-Arellano, 2001; "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)", 2011)extends into central Mexico and continues south throughout Central America, and into northern South America. In South America, lives west of the Andes, in northern Venezuela, northwest Columbia, and western Ecuador. Resident populations have been reported in the lower Florida Keys. The distribution of in the Caribbean is continuous throughout and encompasses the Bahamas, Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Netherlands Antilles, and Trinidad and Tobago. The range of once was thought to extend south to Amazonian Brazil, Paraguay and Northern Argentina, but mammalogists have recently recognized those populations as separate species,
Phyllostomidae, modifies large leaves to make "tents" as roosts. They have been found in a wide range of elevations from sea level to 2300 m. ("American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae)", 2004; Beletsky, 1998; Beletsky, 1999; Emmons, 1997; Miller, et al., 2010; Nowak, 1999; "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)", 2011)is primarily found in mature lowland rainforests, but lives in a variety of habitats including seasonal dry forests, deciduous forests, and human plantations. This species uses an array of different roosts including hollowed trees, dense foliage, caves, and sometimes even buildings. Along with several other species of the family
- Habitat Regions
- Other Habitat Features
- Range elevation
- sea level to 2300 m
- to 7545.93 ft
- Average elevation
- 500 m
- 1640.42 ft
fur that is either brownish, grayish or black in color. Hair roots are white giving a slightly hoary appearance. Ventral pelage is usually lighter than dorsal pelage and no dorsal line is present. The genus Artibeus is characterized by four white facial stripes, one above and below each eye. These stripes are distinct on , but fainter than on other related species. This species lacks an external tail, and the naked uropatagium is a characteristic not present in other members of the genus. Like other phyllostomatids, members of this species have a well-developed noseleaf, which is broad, fleshy, and spear-shaped. has large canines relative to other members of the genus, which are used for impaling the hard skinned unripe fruit they eat. also has a characteristic V-shaped row of bumps on its chin. Six subspecies of are recognized. ("American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae)", 2004; Beletsky, 1998; Beletsky, 1999; Fleming, 2003; Hall, 1981; Marques-Aguiar, 2007; Nowak, 1999)weighs between 40 and 60 g, and reaches 70 to 85 mm in length with a wingspan ranging from 48 to 67 mm wide. It has short
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range mass
- 40 to 60 g
- 1.41 to 2.11 oz
- Range length
- 70 to 85 mm
- 2.76 to 3.35 in
- Range wingspan
- 96 to 150 mm
- 3.78 to 5.91 in
- Average basal metabolic rate
- 0.359 W
- Mating System
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- embryonic diapause
- post-partum estrous
- Breeding interval
- Jamaican fruit-eating bats breed twice every year.
- Breeding season
- Copulation occurs 2 to 25 days after the birth of young in March/April and July/August
- Average number of offspring
- Average number of offspring
- Range gestation period
- 4 to 7 months
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 8 to 12 months
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 8 to 12 months
Little is know about parental care in carried by their mothers while they forage for food. ("Bats", 2001; Nowak, 1999; Vaughn, et al., 2011; "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)", 2011). Like all mammals, mothers provision and protect young while carrying them in the womb and continues until weaning. Prior to learning how to fly, pups are
Little is known about the lifespan of Jamaican fruit-eating bats. One individual in the wild was recaptured 7 years after it had been tagged. Some sources report a lifespan of up to 9 years in the wild. Captive individuals can live to be more than 10 years old. (Nowak, 1999; "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)", 2011)
- Range lifespan
- 7 to 9 years
- Range lifespan
- Range lifespan
- 10 (high) years
- Range lifespan
- Average lifespan
- 10.0 years
- Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
- Average lifespan
Tent construction using the pinnate palms of Scheelea rostrata is a common practice by . Other plants species including Geonoma congesta, Bactris wendlandian, and Asterogyne martiana are also used to build tents. shows preference for plants with broader leaves, which may serve as better protection against the weather. Tents may also provide additional protection against predators. To construct tents, bats chew along the central vein of the leaves, removing small pieces of tissue along the way. The claws are also used to perforate leaves. These perforations cause the leaves to fold perpendicular to the central vein, resulting in a lanceolate tent. is nocturnal and forages during the night. (Morrison, 1978a; Nowak, 1999; "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)", 2011)
Although little is know of their actual home range size, Jamaican fruit-eating bats fly up to 8 km each night to forage. Once a fruit is selected, an additional 25 to 200 m is flown to a feeding roost where the fruit is consumed. (Foster and Timm, 1976; Kunz, 1982; Nowak, 1999; Ortega and Castro-Arellano, 2001; "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)", 2011)
Communication and Perception
Jamaican fruit-eating bats use echolocation as their primary means of orientation. Olfaction and sight are also used to detect food. Although many microchiropterans emit sound pulses orally, ("American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae)", 2004; "Bats", 2001; Ortega and Castro-Arellano, 2001; Vaughn, et al., 2011)emits sound pulses through its noseleaf while its mouth is closed. One researcher described the noseleaf of Jamaican fruit-eating bats as "an acoustic lens that focuses the outgoing sound into a narrow beam." Jamaican fruit-eating bats are often called "whisper bats" because they emit very low intensity sounds. These sounds provide short range information on the location of food in densely vegetated areas. Pups use rapidly repeated long and short notes (i.e., "double notes") to assist in reuniting with their mothers in densely populated caves. Jamaican Fruit-Eating bats produce warning calls when captured in mist nets, which attract conspecifics as well as additional species. Jamaican fruit-eating bats respond to other species' alarm calls as well. Distress calls also warn conspecifics of approaching predators.
- Other Communication Modes
As its common name suggests, Jamaican fruit-eating bats are frugivores and feed primarily on Ficus figs. They also consume pollen, nectar, flower parts, and insects during the dry season when fruit is less abundant. Other members of Artibeus are known to use fruits such as mangoes, avocados, and bananas. Jamaican fruit-eating bats travel up to 8 km a night to forage. Once they select a fruit, they may fly an additional 25 to 200 meters to find a feeding roost rather than consuming the fruit where it was found. Once at this roost, bats use their robust molars, modified for crushing fruit, to mash up the fruit, which is usually unripe and often hard. They suck out the juices and spit out the leftover pulp with any seeds remaining inside. One research team described the feeding habits of Artibeus as causing "a continuous rain of fruit and bat excrement throughout much of the night and with sunrise came herds of aggressive local pigs to gather the night's fallout of figs." Jamaican fruit-eating bats quickly digests their food. as most of the fruit passes through the digestive system in 15 to 20 minutes. Given the relatively short gut retention time, it is unlikely that digestion is aided by bacteria. It is not uncommon to see multiple individuals feeding at the same Ficus tree. ("American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae)", 2004; Emmons, 1997; Fleming, 2003; Nowak, 1999; Vaughn, et al., 2011)
- Animal Foods
- Plant Foods
Jamaican fruit-eating bats are preyed upon by a number of owl species, including barn owls, spectacled owls, mottled owls, and Guatemalan screech owls. Other predators include common opossums, gray four-eyed opossums, boa constrictors, white-nosed coatis, false vampire bats, and Bat Falcons. One week before and after a full moon, Jamaican fruit-eating bats cease feeding activity and return to their day roost while the moon is at its highest peak and cloud cover does not prevent this behavior. When the moon is not full, Jamaican fruit-eating bats forage continuously though the night. Lunar phobia is thought to be an adaption to nocturnal predators that detect prey visually. Because they roost in dark habitats and are nocturnal, their dark coloration helps camouflage them from potential predators. (Beletsky, 1998; Beletsky, 1999; Morrison, 1978a)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
- Known Predators
- barn owl (Tyto alba)
- boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)
- common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis)
- white-nosed coati (Nasua narica)
- gray four-eyed opossum (Philander opossum)
- spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)
- mottled owl (Strix virgata)
- Guatemalan screech owl (Otus guatemalae)
- bat falcon (Falco rufigularis)
- false vampire bat (Vampyrum spectrum)
Artibeus as "a continuous rain of fruit and bat excrement throughout much of the night and with sunrise came herds of aggressive local pigs to gather the night's fallout of figs." Because sometimes consumes nectar and pollen, it likely helps pollinate many Neotropical plant species. Jamaican fruit-eating bats are host to an array of ectoparasites, including four species of ticks from the families Ixodidae and Argasidae, six species of mites from the families Trombiculidae, Macronyssidae, Gastronyssidae, Spinturnicidae, and Ercynetidae, and four species of batflies from the families Nycteribiidae and Streblidae. Little information is available on endoparasites specific to . ("American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae)", 2004; "Bats", 2001; Emmons, 1997; Merritt, 2010; Morrison, 1978b; Nowak, 1999; "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)", 2011)plays an important role in the dispersal of seeds of many tropical fruits. Additionally, it disperses seeds crucial for secondary and successional growth in areas disturbed by natural disasters, which helps restore forests following disturbance and helps maintain plant species richness. It is possible that some species depend on the uneaten remains of discarded fruit. One research team described the foraging habits of
- Ecosystem Impact
- disperses seeds
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
The seeds of market fruits sold by humans are dispersed by Artibeus jamicensis. This species is also helps pollinate some economically-important crop plants. Although insects make up only a minor part of their diet, A. jamicensis may help control certain insect pest species. ("American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae)", 2004)
- Positive Impacts
- pollinates crops
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
- Negative Impacts
- crop pest
Patrick Morrison (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, John Berini (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
- dominance hierarchies
ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates
The process by which an animal locates itself with respect to other animals and objects by emitting sound waves and sensing the pattern of the reflected sound waves.
- embryonic diapause
At about the time a female gives birth (e.g. in most kangaroo species), she also becomes receptive and mates. Embryos produced at this mating develop only as far as a hollow ball of cells (the blastocyst) and then become quiescent, entering a state of suspended animation or embryonic diapause. The hormonal signal (prolactin) which blocks further development of the blastocyst is produced in response to the sucking stimulus from the young in the pouch. When sucking decreases as the young begins to eat other food and to leave the pouch, or if the young is lost from the pouch, the quiescent blastocyst resumes development, the embryo is born, and the cycle begins again. (Macdonald 1984)
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
- female parental care
parental care is carried out by females
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
having more than one female as a mate at one time
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
- scrub forest
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sound above the range of human hearing for either navigation or communication or both
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
2004. American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae). Pp. 413-434 in M McDade, ed. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. Volume 13 Mammals II. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale Group.
2001. Bats. D Macdonald, ed. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wildscreen. 2011. "Jamaican Fruit-Eating Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)" (On-line). ARKive Images of Life on Earth. Accessed April 01, 2011 at http://www.arkive.org/jamaican-fruit-eating-bat/artibeus-jamaicensis/.
Beletsky, L. 1998. Costa Rica The Ecotraveller's Wildlife Guide. San Diego: Academic Press Natural World.
Beletsky, L. 1999. Tropical Mexico The Ecotraveller's Wildlife Guide. San Diego: Natural World Academic Press.
Emmons, L. 1997. Neptropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide. Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press.
Fleming, T. 2003. A Bat Man in the Tropics : Los Chasing El Duende. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Fleming, T. 1971. Artibeus jamaicensis: Delayed Embryonic Development in a Neotropical Bat. Science, Vol. 171, No. 3969: 402-404.
Foster, M., R. Timm. 1976. Tent-Making by Artibeus jamaicensis (Chiroptera: Phyllostomatidae) with Comments on Plants Used by Bats for Tents. Biotropica, Vol. 8, No. 4: 265-269.
Hall, E. 1981. The Mammals of North America. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Kunz, T. 1982. Ecology of Bats. New York, NY: Plenum Press.
Kunz, T., P. August, C. Burnett. 1983. Harem Social Organization in Cave Roosting Artibeus jamaicensis (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). Biotropica, 15(2): 133-138.
Marques-Aguiar, S. 2007. Genus Artibeus. Pp. 301-321 in A Gardner, ed. Mammals of South America, Volume 1: Marsupials, Xenarthrans, Shrews, and Bats. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Merritt, J. 2010. The Biology of Small Mammals. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
Miller, B., F. Reid, J. Arroyo-Cabrales, A. Cuaron, P. de Grammont. 2010. "Artibeus jamaicensis" (On-line). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed March 25, 2011 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/2135/0.
Morrison, D. 1978. Foraging Ecology and Energetics of the Frugivorous Bat Artibeus Jamaicensis. Ecology, 59(4): 716-723.
Morrison, D. 1978. Lunar Phobia in a Neoptropical Fruit Bat, Artibeus jamaicensis (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). Animal Behaviour, 26: 852-855.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
Ortega, J., H. Arita. 1999. Structure and social dynamics of harem groups in Journal of Mammalogy, 80 (4): 1173-1185.(Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae).
Ortega, J., I. Castro-Arellano. 2001. Mammal Species: Artibeus jamaicensis. American Society of Mammalogists, 662: 1-9.
Vaughn, T., J. Ryan, N. Czaplewski. 2011. Mammalogy 5th. Edition. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.