Brachyphylla nanaCuban fruit-eating bat

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Geographic Range

Brachyphylla nana is found in "Cuba, Isle of Pines, Grand Cayman, Hispaniola, & Middle Caicos" (Walker, 1999).

Habitat

Brachyphylla nana is a cave dwelling species. In Cuba, they prefer deep caves that are often hot and humid. In Middle Caicos, where there are no deep caves, they seem to be more opportunistic in their selection of habitat, and will live in cooler, less humid caves. Colonies of Brachyphylla nana in Cuba have been estimated to contain between 2,000 and 10,000 individuals.

Physical Description

Brachyphylla nana has a very small vestigial nose leaf. The lower lip has "a V-shaped groove margined by tubercles" (Walker, 1999). The tubercles also line the portions of the upper lip on either side of the muzzle. The ears are medium sized, and form a slightly rounded V-shape at the top. Brachyphylla nana has a well-developed uropatagium with a concealed, vestigial tail. The species is typically light brown to ivory in color with reddish or yellowish tones. The neck, shoulders and sides are usually paler in color (grayish-white) than the rest of the body, and the underside is brown.

  • Average mass
    <45 g
    oz

Reproduction

Females form maternity colonies after mating. Mating begins in October. During this period, the colony may occupy parts of the cave which typically remain uninhabited during the rest of the year. Females usually give birth to a single infant between December and May.

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual

Behavior

During the day, Brachyphylla nana rest in caves. They leave their roosts very late in the evening in search of food, but return to their refuge well before dawn.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Brachyphylla nana are known to be opportunistic feeders. Their diet consists of pollen, seeds, fruit nectar and insects.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Because of the highly variable diet in this species, they may be good pollinators and they may help control insect populations in some areas.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

No negative impact on humans was reported.

Conservation Status

No special status was reported for Brachyphylla nana.

Contributors

Grace Meyer (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

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.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

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.

motile

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.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

tactile

uses touch to communicate

References

Buden, D. 1977. First Records Of Bats Of The Genus Brachyphylla From The Caicos Islands, With Notes On Geographic Variation. Journal of Mammalogy, Vol 58 No. 2: 221-225.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

Taboada, G. 1979. Los Murcielagos de Cuba. La Habanaz, Cuba: Editorial Academia.