Peropteryx kapplerigreater dog-like bat

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Geographic Range

Peropteryx kappleri is native to the Neotropics. Its range extends from southern Mexico to northern South America and into Brazil. (Eisenberg and Redford, 1999; Nowak, 1999)

Habitat

Peropteryx kappleri can tolerate dry conditions such as in the savanna, but mainly inhabits wet forests, marshes and swamps. Colonies have been found roosting in fallen logs, hollow trees, caves and in abandoned coal mines in Colombia. It can also be found in agricultural areas. Peropteryx kappleri can be found at low to moderate elevations. The highest reported elevation is in a coal mine in Colombia at a height of 1415 m. (Eisenberg and Redford, 1999; Giral, et al., 1991; Nowak, 1999)

  • Range elevation
    1415 (high) m
    4642.39 (high) ft

Physical Description

Two color phases are found in Peropteryx kappleri; one is light brown and the other is dark brown, but both have lighter undersides. This species is endothermic and exhibits bilateral symmetry. Sexual dimorphism exists; females weigh more and have longer forearms and body lengths. The average weight for females is 8.5 g, males average 7.7 g. The mean body length is 60.9 mm for females, and 58.2 mm for males. The average forearm length is 50.3 mm for females and 48.3 mm for males. The ears of Peropteryx kappleri not joined at their base by a membrane, as is the case in some of its relatives. (Eisenberg and Redford, 1999; Giral, et al., 1991; Hall, 1981; Nowak, 1999)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • Average length
    59.6 mm
    2.35 in

Reproduction

Reports on the mating systems of Peropteryx kappleri vary as to whether or not females form harems that are monopolized by one or a few males. In a study conducted by Bradbury and Vehrencamp in 1976, they indicated that there was no harem formation. However, a study by Giral, Alberico and Alvare reported that the number of females outnumbered males by a factor of 1.4, which suggested to them the existence of harem formation. Males do not compete for females, and both groups agreed that males are not territorial. (Bradbury and Vehrencamp, 1976; Giral, et al., 1991)

Births occur during most of the year, but there are two peaks, which correspond to increased amounts of rainfall during the rainy seasons. One is a big peak during April; the other is a smaller peak that occurs during October and November. Information is not available on the gestation period of these bats, but females are known to usually produce one litter per year. Each litter consists of one offspring. The females nurse their young for about forty days, after which the young are able to fly like adults. The offspring reach their adult size by about fifty-five days. After sixty days, most of the offspring leave their birth colony and never return. (Giral, et al., 1991; Nowak, 1999)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • viviparous
  • Breeding interval
    Peropteryx kappleri normally breeds once a year.
  • Breeding season
    The breeding season of Peropteryx kappleri is not known.
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Average weaning age
    40 days
  • Average time to independence
    60 days

Females bear the burden of caring for the young. Giral, Alberico and Alvare (1991) found that when parturition nears, the weight of females increases by 1 to 2 g. When this occurs, females go to new roosting sites that separate them from the group, but that are not far away. The young are born relatively well developed for bats, but are defenseless and cannot fly. Females cover their offspring with their wings during the day, and allow them to attach to the base of their tails to nurse from birth until they are about forty days old. After about fifty-five days, the offspring can fly well and leave the roost at night. Once this occurs, the females do not invest much energy into the offspring, and the young leave permanently usually a few days later. (Giral, et al., 1991; Nowak, 1999)

  • Parental Investment
  • altricial
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

No information was available on the lifespan of Peropteryx kappleri in either the wild or in captivity. However, members of the family Emballonuridae are known to have a lifespan of several years in captivity. (Kulzer and Schmidt, 1990)

Behavior

Peropteryx kappleri is not territorial, but it does prefer certain roosting sites. Individuals are generally social, and form colonies of five to forty-seven individuals. There are solitary individuals, but they are rare, and are not an important part of the group with which they share a roosting site. In their roosting site, individuals maintain a small minimal distance on the wall between each other. Peropteryx kappleri is nocturnal. They fly out of their dwelling to forage at about six in the evening, and return between two and six in the morning. Individuals make several passes before entering the roost. It is the females that often enter first. No social grooming has been observed in Peropteryx kappleri. (Giral, et al., 1991; Linares, 1998; Nowak, 1999)

Communication and Perception

Peropteryx kappleri communicates through vocalizations, which become stronger in the cave during flight. Mother and offspring also use vocalization to locate each other when they are separated. Eyes are well developed from birth. Like all bats of the suborder Microchiroptera, Peropteryx kappleri use echolocation as a primary means of navigation and perception. It produces high frequency sounds that reflect off objects as echoes, which are then received and interpreted by the bat to determine the position, movement, shape and texture of the objects. (Giral, et al., 1991)

Food Habits

Peropteryx kappleri is an insectivore. Its diet consists of insects, including moths and butterflies and members of the orders Diptera and Coleoptera. (Linares, 1998)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects

Predation

Peropteryx kappleri has predators, though none are specifically mentioned. Humans can cause problems and decrease the number of individuals by habitat modification. (Kulzer and Schmidt, 1990)

Ecosystem Roles

No specific ecosystem roles are described, though they do help keep insect populations in check because they are insectivores. (Linares, 1998)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Peropteryx kappleri is not known to be of any positive economic importance to humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Peropteryx kappleri is not known to have any negative effects on the economy.

Conservation Status

Peropteryx kappleri is common and its condition is stable throughout the habitats in which it is found. Also, it is not listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red list or CITES appendices. (Giral, et al., 1991; Linares, 1998)

Contributors

Matthew Wund (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Nima Maani (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor, instructor), 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

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

agricultural

living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

altricial

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.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

echolocation

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.

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.

insectivore

An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

marsh

marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.

monogamous

Having one mate at a time.

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

polygynous

having more than one female as a mate at one time

sexual

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

social

associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

swamp

a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.

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.

ultrasound

uses sound above the range of human hearing for either navigation or communication or both

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

References

Altringham, J. 1996. Bats: Biology and Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bradbury, J., S. Vehrencamp. 1976. Social Organization and Foraging in Emballonurid Bats. Part 1. Field Studies.. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 1(4): 337-381.

Eisenberg, J., K. Redford. 1999. Genus Peropteryx Peters, 1867. Pp. 127 in Mammals of the Neotropics, Vol. 3, First Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Giral, G., M. Alberico, L. Alvare. 1991. Reproduction and social organization in Peropteryx kappleri in Columbia. Bonner Zoologische Beitraege, 42: 225-236.

Hall, E. 1981. Peropteryx kappleri - Greater Doglike Bat. Pp. 82 in The Mammals of North America, Vol. 1, Second Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc..

Kulzer, E., U. Schmidt. 1990. Modern bats. Pp. 584-585 in S Parker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. 1, First Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

Linares, O. 1998. Mamiferos de Venezuela. Caracas: Sociedad Conservacionista de Venezuela.

Nowak, R. 1999. Doglike Bats. Pp. 318-319 in Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 1, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.