Peropteryx macrotislesser dog-like bat

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Geographic Range

Lesser dog-like bats are found from southern Mexico to Central and South America. They can be found in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil, and the northern parts of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. They are not known to live south of northern Paraguay. There are three named subspecies: Peropteryx macrotis macrotis, Peropteryx macrotis phaea, and Peropteryx macrotis trinitatus. (Yee, 2000)

Habitat

Peropteryx macrotis is generally found in tropical deciduous forest, below 1000 meters. Individuals have been found above 1,000 meters in elevation but only in very small numbers and it is likely that these were incidental occurrences. Individuals are occasionally collected in semi-arid thorn scrub and evergreen forests but this too is likely incidental. They have been recorded in grasslands and urban and agricultural areas in Mexico. ("IUCN", 2008; "InfoNatura: Animals and Ecosystems of Latin America", 2007; Yee, 2000)

  • Range elevation
    1,000 (high) m
    ft

Physical Description

Fur color in lesser dog-like bats varies geographically and ranges from brown to gray to reddish on the dorsal section and lighter on the ventral side. They can be distinguished from similar species by a wing sac on the antebrachial membrane. The appearance of their faces are somewhat dog-like and their ears are long. Their ears are separate at the base, not connected by a membrane as is the case for related species. Their fur is roughly 6 to 9 mm in length. The tail is about one-third the length of the body. The dental formula is 1/3, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, with 32 teeth total. Wings attach at the ankle. Lesser dog-like bats are the smallest members of the genus Peropteryx. (Nowak and Walker, 1999; Yee, 2000)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • Range mass
    3 to 9 g
    0.11 to 0.32 oz
  • Range length
    62 (high) mm
    2.44 (high) in

Reproduction

Lesser dog-like bats live in groups of less than 15 individuals. In groups of less than 10 individuals, only one male is present. This suggests a harem mating system. It is speculated that a gland in the male wing is used as a scent display during mating. (Yee, 2000)

Lesser dog-like bats exhibit seasonal polyestry, with the timing varying geographically. In Central and South America, they mate during both dry and wet seasons. The timing of breeding varies regionally, but occurs for several months of each year in any given area. Females gestate their young for 4 to 4.5 months. Single births are the most common. (Yee, 2000)

  • Breeding interval
    According to the current known samples of pregnant females taken, it appears that the Lesser Dog-like bat breeds once yearly.
  • Breeding season
    Seasonal polyestry, varies according to location.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 (low)
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Range gestation period
    4 to 4.5 months

Information about the parental investment of Peropteryx macrotis is unavailable. However, like other mammals, females invest heavily in young through gestation and lactation. (Nowak and Walker, 1999; Yee, 2000)

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

Lifespan/Longevity

Information about the lifespan of Peropteryx macrotis is unavailable.

Behavior

Lesser dog-like bats maintain small colonies of 10 to 15. Colonies roost in rock crevices, shallow caves (limestone and coral), the hollows and undersides of fallen logs, and rock piles. All members of the genus Peropteryx cling to horizontal or vertical surfaces when resting. Although sometimes found hanging upside down from horizontal surfaces, they are more commonly seen clinging to a vertical surface by spreading their wings and legs. Colonies of P. macrotis are often found sharing roosting areas with other bat species, including Peropteryx kappleri, Saccopteryx bilineata, Glossophaga soricina, Glossophaga longirostris, Carollia perspicillata, Diphylla ecaudata, Myotis nigricans, and Myotis keaysi. There is also a single report of roost-sharing with a colony of Desmodus rotundus. Roosts are sometimes exposed so lesser dog-like bats tend to stay alert while roosting. (Nowak and Walker, 1999; Yee, 2000)

Home Range

Information about the home range of Peropteryx macrotis is unavailable.

Communication and Perception

Information on the specifics of communication and perception of Peropteryx macrotis is unavailable. They hear and see well and use echolocation to navigate and find food. Males have wing glands and the scents secreted by these glands may be important in harem formation and defense and mating success. (Nowak and Walker, 1999; Yee, 2000)

Food Habits

Lesser dog-like bats are insectivorous. Their diet consists mainly of small beetles and flies. In human-occupied areas insects are often hunted near street lights. (Yee, 2000; Yee, 2000; Yee, 2000; Yee, 2000)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects

Predation

Lesser dog-like bats are preyed on by owls and big-eared woolly bats (Chrotopterus auritus), which are common predators on smaller bats. Lesser dog-like bats are vigilant and readily abandon roosts when threatened. (Yee, 2000)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Lesser dog-like bats help to control insect pests and vectors of disease through their insectivory. They act as prey for owls and larger bats. Lesser dog-like bats are also host to both internal and external parasites, including nematodes and bed bugs (Cimex). (Nowak and Walker, 1999; Wilson and Reeder, 2005; Yee, 2000)

Commensal/Parasitic Species

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans benefit from lesser dog-like bats because they eat large quantities of insects, including agricultural pests and vectors of disease. (Yee, 2000)

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Lesser dog-like bats do not directly negatively impact humans. However, populations of lesser dog-like bats host bed bugs (Cimex) which can also infest human habitations that are nearby. (Yee, 2000)

Conservation Status

Lesser dog-like bats are not considered endangered as a species. Populations are large, wide-spread, and stable. No known threats are listed, but deforestation does impact populations negatively. ("IUCN", 2008)

Other Comments

The species name "macrotis" is Latin and means "long ears". In Spanish, the common name of this bat is "murcielago orejudo de sacos alares", translated as long-eared sac-winged bats. (Nowak and Walker, 1999; Yee, 2000)

Contributors

Saundra Ponte (author), University of Oregon, Stephen Frost (editor, instructor), University of Oregon, Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

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

cryptic

having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.

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.

iteroparous

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).

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

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sedentary

remains in the same area

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.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

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

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

urban

living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.

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

IUCN. 2008. "IUCN" (On-line). Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed January 20, 2009 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/.

NatureServe. 2007. "InfoNatura: Animals and Ecosystems of Latin America" (On-line). InfoNatura. Accessed January 26, 2009 at http://www.natureserve.org/infonatura.

Nowak, R., E. Walker. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: JHU Press. Accessed March 17, 2009 at http://books.google.com.

Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 2005. Mammal species of the world : a taxonomic and geographic reference. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Yee, D. 2000. Mammalian Species 643. American Society of Mammalogists, No. 1: 1-4. Accessed January 25, 2009 at http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/Biology/VHAYSSEN/msi/msiaccounts.html.