All natalids have large, funnel-shaped ears, with glandular papillae on the surface of the external ear. They also have a short, triangular tragus, which is quite thick, but they lack a true nose leaf. All species in this family, however, have a hairy protuberance on the tip of the snout that resembles a nose leaf. The eyes are not prominent. The oval nostrils are set close together and are located near the margin of the lip.
One special characteristic of natalids is a peculiar structure on the face or muzzle of adult males. This structure is commonly known as the "natalid organ." It is made up of sensory cells, but it could actually be involved in glandular functions. There is not enough known about this structure to comment upon it further, but it seems to be found solely in the Natalidae.
All funnel-eared bats have long, slender wings and legs that are quite fragile. The thumbs are also very short, but possess their own flight membranes. In addition, the second finger lacks bony phalanges. The tail is about as long as or longer than the legs and is completely enclosed in the tail membrane, the uroplagium.
has many special characteristics which set this species apart from the others in the family. is the smallest and most delicate bat in the New World. The lower lip of this species is reflected outward. It also possesses a small, horizontal cutaneous projection on the other side. This structure looks much like a second lower lip.
has a very dense and long coat. Coat color varies depending on its location on the body. Dorsally, the fur is pale yellowish brown at the hair base with tips that are either reddish or chestnut-brown. Ventrally, the hair is pale yellowish-brown throughout.
The dental formula is (3/3, 1/1, 3/3, 3/3). These bats have a well-developed "W" tooth pattern. The 3rd incisor is separated from the other two. The canine is small but well developed and is noticeably set apart from the other teeth. The premolars are all in close contact with the other teeth and the molars are approximately equal in size and form.
There is little known about the reproductive habits of (Silva, 1979). One study reported the capture of a single nursing mother in August, and the capture of about 56 females that were not nursing during the months of January, March and December. Nothing is known about the dates of reproduction.
Little is known about the behavior of. These bats are found in loose clusters of up to several hundred individuals. These colonies roost on the undersides of low ledges in deep caves. is an obligate cave dweller that may aestivate (spend its summers in a state of inactivity).
All members of the family Natalidae feed on tiny insects, which they locate by using very high frequency ultra-sounds. These frequencies can get up to 170 kHz, which are emitted through the mouth. ("Encyclopedia of Mammals", 1985)
Because there is so little known about this species, it is important that their habitat not be destroyed so that more research can be done and more information can be found about these small mammals. (Kerridge and Baker, December 29, 1978)
The genus name Natalus is derived form the Latin word meaning "related to one's birth." The name was chosen because the bats of this genus are small and look like newborns even as adults. The species name micropus comes from the Greek word "micros", meaning small, and "pus" meaning foot.
There is scant fossil history of. Fossils found in Las Villas from the Pleistocene era suggest that there has been little change in this species since that time.
Why this species is so uncommon in collections is not really known. There could be a several reasons:
(Kerridge and Baker, 1978; Silva, 1979; Ottenwalder and Genoways, 1982)
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Natalie Nechvatal (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
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.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
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.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
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.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
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.
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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"NSRL: Publications: Occasional Papers: OP-171" (On-line). Accessed November 29, 1999 at http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/opapers/op171.htm.
Buden, D. 1987. A Guide to the Identification of the Bats of the Bahamas. Carib. J. Sci., 23(3-4): 362-364.
Hill, J., J. Smith. 1984. Bats: A Natural History. Cromwell Road, London: British Museum (Natural History).
Kerridge, D., R. Baker. December 29, 1978. Natalus micropus. Mammalian Species, No. 114: 113-114.
McFarlane, D. January 1986. Cave bats in Jamaica. Oryx, Vol.20 No.1: 27-29.
Norwak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore & London: John Hopkins University Press.
Ottenwalder, J., H. Genoways. 1982. Systematic Review of the Antillean Bats of the Natalus Micropus-Complex. Annals of Carnegie Museum, Vol.51: 17-36.
Silva, G. 1979. Los Murcielagos de Cuba. Cuba: Editorial Academia.