Myzopoda auritasucker-footed bat

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Geographic Range

Although it occurred in east Africa during the Pleistocene, this species is now endemic to the island of Madagascar. M. aurita is found primarily along the east coast of the island.

Habitat

M. aurita is known to inhabit the palm forests of Madagascar, including the forest on the Masoala Peninsula.

Physical Description

As an adult, this bat is generally about 57mm in length (body and head); length of tail 48mm; forearm length 46-50mm. They are named for the sessile pads on their wrists and ankles, which allow them to attach by suction to leaf surfaces. (These pads are similar to those on the Thyroptera tricolor. Although these two species fulfill a similar ecological niche, their suction pads appear to have evolved separately.) Their ears are large and a tragus is present. They have wide lips, and the upper extends beyond the lower lip. On their thumb is a vestigial claw. Their long tail extends beyond the length of the uropatagium. They have moderately dense fur that is generally light brown to golden brown in color. The skull is broad, short and rounded. Dental formula is: (2/3 1/1 3/3 3/3) x 2 = 38

  • Range mass
    8 to 10 g
    0.28 to 0.35 oz
  • Range length
    105 to 125 mm
    4.13 to 4.92 in

Reproduction

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

Behavior

Although this species is not often caught in netting efforts due to its highly maneuverable flight, it can often be heard and/or seen flying over fields, paddies, and developed areas. It is known to cling upright on leaves, usually palm leaves, using its long tail as a support.

The echolocation calls of M. aurita have been described as being moderately intense, frequency modulated (FM) calls. They usually emit 2-4 distinct pulse elements with up to 4 harmonics, and are capable of emitting very long calls (up to 23ms).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Though little is known about this species, it has been determined that it is an insectivore, feeding primarily on Microlepidopteran moths.

Conservation Status

As with many species in Madagascar, the sucker-footed bat is facing habitat loss at a profound level. An estimated 80-90% of the native vegetation in Madagascar has been destroyed, and the human population is growing at ~3%/year. Only recently have efforts to slow this trend begun, with a focus on saving the forest on the Masoala Peninsula, the last large forest in Madagascar.

Contributors

Mike Watson (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Bret Weinstein (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Ethiopian

living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

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.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

crepuscular

active at dawn and dusk

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.

insectivore

An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.

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.

nocturnal

active during the night

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.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

sexual

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

tactile

uses touch to communicate

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

References

"Myzopoda aurita" (On-line). Accessed Oct. 9, 2001 at http://www.sunysb.edu/doit/icte/Mammals/Myzopoda-aurita/.

Bennett, D. "The Bats of Madagascar and their echolocation calls." (On-line). Accessed Oct. 9, 2001 at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~nhi770/madbats2.html.

Goepfert, M., L. Wasserthal. 1995. Notes on echolocation calls , food and roosting behaviour of the Old World Sucker-footed bat Myzopoda aurita (Chiroptera, Myzopodidae). Zeitschrift Fuer Saeugertierkunde, 60(1): 1-8.

Goepfert, M., L. Wasserthal. 1995. Notes on echolocation calls, food and roosting behaviour of the Old World Sucker-footed bat Myzopoda aurita (Chiroptera, Myzopodidae). Zeitschrift Fuer Saeugetierkunde, 60(1): 1-8.

Grzimek, B. 1986. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co..

Hutcheon, J. 1994. The Great Red Island: A Future for its Bats?. Bats, 12(2): 10-13.

Massicot, P. 2001. "Animal Info - Madagascar" (On-line). Accessed October 9, 2001 at http://www.animalinfo.org/country/madagasc.htm.

Thewissen, J., S. Etnier. 1995. Adhesive devices on the thumb of vespertilionid bats (Chiroptera). J. Mammalogy, 76 (3): 925-936.