Glossophaga soricinaPallas's long-tongued bat

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Geographic Range

Northern Mexico to Paraguay and northern Argentina, Jamaica, Bahamas.

Habitat

Foraging habitat for G. soricina is described as moist and open.

Physical Description

The average weight of of 6 adults from north coast of Colombia is 9 g; average weights of 10.5 g have been reported for other populations. Average forearm skull lengths for 4 males from Nicaragua are 36.4 and 21.45 mm, respectively. The same measurements for 4 females from Nicaragua are 35.75 and 21.3 mm.

  • Average mass
    9.6 g
    0.34 oz
    AnAge
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    0.164 W
    AnAge

Reproduction

Reproductive behavior varies somewhat geographically, though most accounts indicate that G. soricina either breeds continuously throughout the year or is bimodally polyestrous. Gestation lasts approximately 3.5 months. Normally only single offspring, but twins have been reported. Parturition occurs with the young in the head down position. Young cling cross-wise to the mother's ventral surface with the head just posterior to the mother's throat. Young have been obsereved hanging on their own at 18 days, but they are known to remain attached to their mother as late as 20 days old. Flight begins at about 25 to 28 days after birth.

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
    1
    AnAge
  • Average gestation period
    106 days
    AnAge

Lifespan/Longevity

Behavior

Observations along the north coast of Colombia suggest that G. soricina has two general foraging behaviors. Some animals defend small territories (less than 10 m square) around preferred food plants and will chase intruders as far as 30 m. The high pitched chattering vocalizations made during these aggresive interactions are the only sounds made by this species that are audible to humans. Other animals have a trap-line feeding behavior. These animals visit a variety of plants each night, follow the same route each night and monitor resource availability. Most trap-line feeders have routes between 150 and 250 m, though some have been recorded as long as 1450 m. Foraging by both territorial and trapline feeders is concentrated in the first four hours after sunset. Animals forage either by hovering at a flower or by hanging or sprawling on a flower. Colonies of as many as 1,000 individuals have been reported.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Pollen, nectar, flower parts, fruit, insects. Glossophaga soricina is known to consume parts of at least 34 different species of plants and shows clear preferences locally.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

This species is probably important as a pollinator of flowers and disperser of seeds of economically important plant species.

Conservation Status

There are no indications that G. soricina is threatened at present.

Other Comments

Glossophaga soricina has several morphological features that have been interpreted as adaptations for nectivory: a long, extendable tongue for probing into flowers; divergent hair scales that hold pollen grains; and specializations in digestive physiology to facilitate digestion of nectar and pollen. G. soricina is known to carry a variety of endoparasites (cestodes, nematodes and protozoans) as well as at least 34 ectoparasites.

Contributors

David L. Fox (author), 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.

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

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.

rainforest

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.

sexual

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

tactile

uses touch to communicate

References

Baker, R. J., J. K. Jones, Jr., and D. C. Carter, eds. 1977. Biology of bats of the New World family Phyllostomidae. Part II. Special Publication of the Msueum, Texas Tech University, no. 13. 364 pp.

Baker, R. J., J. K. Jones, Jr., and D. C. Carter, eds. 1979. Biology of bats of the New World family Phyllostomidae. Part III. Special Publication of the Museum, Texas Tech University, no. 16. 441 pp.

Nowak, R. M. 1994. Walker's Bats of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Lemke, T. O. 1984. Foraging ecology of the long-nosed bat, Glossophaga soricina, with respect to resource availability. Ecology 65(2): 538-548.