Phyllostomus hastatusgreater spear-nosed bat

Geographic Range

Honduras south to Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.


Specimens have been collected along stream beds and other moist areas, but can also be found in dryer areas. Animals were found equally in open and forested habitat.

Physical Description

P. hastatus is one of the larger American bats with a body length of 100 to 130mm and a wing span of 455 mm. Its coloration is dark brown; the ventral surface is paler with an orange tinge. It has a well developed nose leaf, widely separate ears, and short tail, and males have a well developed throat sac. The lower lip has a "V" shaped grove with numerous protuberances.

  • Average mass
    81 g
    2.85 oz
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    0.559 W


Phyllostomus hastatus may be monoestrus (one reproductive bout per year) or polyestrus (multiple reproductive bouts in a year); the pattern may be geographically dependent. Lactating females have been found throughout the year. They generally have one offspring at a time. Gestation about 4 months.

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


  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    18 years


Roosts in colonies of 10 to 100 individuals. Roosts have been found in hollow trees, termite nests, caves, and thatched roofs. Males may defend a group of females within a colony, forming temporary harems of up to 30 females per male.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

This species is omnivorous, eating primarily vertebrates, flowers and pollen. Radio tracking studies found that individuals will travel up to 5km to feeding sites each night.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Food habits involve the removal of pest insects and also aid in pollination of some crops.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Eat some fruits (bananas) that humans would consume.

Conservation Status

No special status, but habitat destruction may be a concern.


Anna Bess Sorin (author), Biology Dept., University of Memphis.



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.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


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


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.


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.


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


uses touch to communicate


Redford, K.H. and J.F. Eisenberg. 1992. Mammals of the Neotropics. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.

Nowak, R.M. and J.L.Paradiso. 1983. Walker's Mammals of the World 4th Ed. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore.