Saccopteryx canescens. is larger and has a darker pelage than Saccopteryx leptura, which is lighter brown. As with all members of this genus, this species has wing sacs which help to distinguish it from superficially similar bats of the genus Rhynchonycteris. (Eisenberg, 1989; Genoud and Bonaccorso, 1986; Yancey, et al., 1998)has dark pelage with 2 whitish longitudinal stripes running down the dorsal side of the body from each shoulder to the rump. This species has a simple muzzle without a leaf-like nasal structure or inflation of the rostrum. The black color of fades to deep brown as it becomes worn. The ventral surface is brown to gray. The uropatagium is slightly hairy. Total length varies from 73 to 78 mm, the length of the tail is on average 21.6 mm, the length of the ear ranges between 17.51 and 17.96 mm, and the length of the forearm is between 47.13 and 49.16 mm. body mass ranges from 8.5 to 9.3 g, females are generally slightly larger than males. The skull has a large post-orbital process and premaxillilaries that are incomplete and not attached medially. This species has 32 teeth with a dental formula of 1/3, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3. Cranial length ranges from 13.2 to 15.7 mm. The dorsal stripes are pronounced in and serve as a distinguishing feature when comparing this bat to
The (Voight, et al., 2006)mating system is polygynous, in which males defend harems of 3 to 5 females from other males. Since females are larger than males, they control copulation and are often more agonistic toward males than accepting. Therefore, males principally maintain a roosting and foraging territory in order to attract females. Males also use a suite of olfactory, visual, and ultrasonic vocal displays to attract and retain females. Males spend much of the afternoon cleaning the sacs on their wing membranes with saliva and urine. A genital secretion is then collected with the chin and applied to the wing sacs. Once the sacs are prepared, a male performs flight displays in which it hovers over females in the harem and flaps its sacs toward her in a behavior known as “salting.” Typically, salting is reserved for visiting females outside of the harem, whereas established females receive a hovering display and courtship song which may go on, intermittently, for one hour. A female usually responds by flying away or swatting at the male with her wing (80% of copulation attempts); or she may reciprocate with a less complex social call that is often a precursor to copulation. Harem size is positively correlated with song complexity (number of syllables in a song), as well as with frequency of male displays. Additionally, molecular studies have verified that male reproductive success is positively correlated with harem size.
A single male guards the harem from non-harem males both at the roost and when the harem forages at night. A male may use a short territorial song to ward off other males, and antagonistic encounters between males are resolved after a brief barking match. However, within a harem, cryptic males wait to usurp the harem if the harem male is removed. Based on removal studies, the succession of harem males by cryptic males depends on tenure within the colony; cryptic males that have been in a harem the longest take over the harem. This suggests a seniority-based hierarchy among males and may be one reason why males are highly philopatric, in hopes that their fidelity to the harem will eventually result in access to the females. (Voight, et al., 2006)
Researchers have also observed a social hierarchy in the females of a harem. A female that consistently wins dyadic interactions against other females tends to position herself in the warmest area of the roost, highest from the ground. These females experience fewer copulation attempts from the harem male and tend to change roosts less often than females of a lesser rank. They also try to drive off females looking to join the harem, but will relent if a new female is persistent. Harem fidelity is relatively low among females, with one study finding that 60% of females visit at least 3 harems per day. Visiting females receive a majority of the copulation attempts and harassment from harem males. (Voight, et al., 2006)
Although males work to maintain a harem throughout the year, females are typically receptive to copulation once a year. In Costa Rica, females allow males to breed with them during an approximate four week period in December and January, which coincides with the end of the seasonal rains. During the breeding season, a male’s testes swell to 0.2% of his body mass. Fertilization and implantation occurs soon after copulation, and a fetus is recognizable eight weeks after fertilization. However, fetal development slows dramatically at this point, since gestation lasts six months. (Bradbury and Vehrencamp, 1977; Voight, et al., 2006; Yancey, et al., 1998)
In Costa Rica, births occur in a three week span from May to June with pregnant females in a colony undergoing synchronous parturition. This period is generally the onset of the rainy season, but in years where the rains are delayed, a stressed female is able to resorb or abort a pregnancy. Successful pregnancies result in a single newborn that is fully furred, weighs 40% of its mother’s mass, and has a forearm length that is 60% of the adult forearm length. As the offspring mature, 75% of males stay in the colony while all females leave. Of females that leave, 16% go on to inhabit a neighboring colony, whereas the outcome of the other 84% is unknown. (Bradbury and Vehrencamp, 1977; Voight, et al., 2006; Yancey, et al., 1998)
Only females provide direct parental care. Although they are relatively well developed, newborns cling to their mothers until their first flight 10 to 14 days after birth. Lactation continues for another 6 weeks, at which point juveniles becomes fully independent. Adult males, despite having no direct parental investment, are important in how juveniles learn and practice vocalizations. Using bat detectors, researchers discovered that juveniles appear to mix rudimentary elements of several call types much in the same way many juvenile birds and infant humans babble incoherently when first learning to communicate (only documented case of babbling in a mammalian species outside of primates).
Home ranges are variable depending on the status and sex of the bat, but the average home range at La Pacifica study site in Costa Rica was found to be 6.9 hectares. (Bradbury and Vehrencamp, 1976)
Like most other bats, greater sac-winged bats use echolocation to perceive their environment and forage. The frequency ranges of their foraging calls are between 42 and 50 kHz. In addition to echolocation vocalizations, Saccopteryx leptura have species specific male scents. Female choice experiments confirm that females prefer the scent of their own species over those of sister species. (Caspers, et al., 2009; Voight, et al., 2006; Yancey, et al., 1998)males use vocalizations along with olfactory and visual cues to attract mates to their harem. Males perform hovering displays when a female enters their territory and they produce complex songs as both territorial and courtship displays. Territorial song bouts last up to 4 seconds and consist of 20 to 50 elements. These songs are produced occasionally throughout the day and more frequently at dawn and dusk, when the colony is most active. Courtship songs are more complex than territorial songs and may last for minutes or up to an hour. These songs are usually at a frequency of above 20 kHz, with tonal elements known as trills composed of a rippled modulation of the basal frequency modulation. The trill element of the courtship song varies from male to male, suggesting it may play a role in female choice and individual identification. Males also use scents with females, with perfume displays increasing in frequency prior to and during the mating season. Females respond to scent displays with social vocalizations or by waving a folded forearm at the male. Recent chemical analysis by gas chromatography has shown that and its sister species
beetles and flies whereas other studies have found frequent consumption of lepidopterans. Specialization on one prey type has not been observed. Greater sac-winged bats forage 3 to 8 m from the ground using straight-line chases and sharp turns before obstacles. Foraging occurs for 2 to 3 hours after dusk with 20 to 30 minutes of effort in each foraging bout. Greater sac-winged bats use relatively long, paired search phase calls with the first call lasting 5.1 to 6.7 ms and the second call, 2 to 3 kHz lower, lasting 4.8 to 6.0 ms. Calls are characterized by a slight rise in frequency at the beginning of a pulse, followed by an extended constant frequency portion, ending with a slight decrease in frequency. Calls vary in frequency throughout the geographic range of , from 47 to 50 kHz recorded in a Costa Rican population and 43 to 45 kHz documented in a population in Belize. Colonies of have exclusive foraging ranges, with most individuals from one colony sharing a foraging area. Although individuals from a colony forage near each other, they forage in a solitary manner, unlike the group foraging of closely related Saccopteryx leptura. Studies in Costa Rica showed that foraging activity of is positively correlated with phenological activity and presumably insect abundance in forested habitat. Due to the highly seasonal nature of food sources, changes foraging patches every 5 to 10 weeks. (Barclay, 1983; Bradbury and Vehrencamp, 1976; Yancey, et al., 1998)is strictly insectivorous. Diet studies in Costa Rica and Trinidad have found consuming primarily
No specific data are available on predation of (Nowak, 1994). Possible predators which have been recorded preying on other bat species include snakes, owls, and small carnivores. Greater sac-winged bats are cryptically colored when roosting and are active at night, protecting them from some predation.
Greater sac-winged bats are insect predators. If these bats occur in high densities or with many other species, the accumulation of their feces may be a significant source of nutrients to the soil and plants under their roost. They also significantly impact populations of insects and are parasitized by a number of internal and external parasites. (Bradbury and Vehrencamp, 1976)
Ken Luzynski (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Emily Sluzas (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor, instructor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
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.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
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.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
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.
ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates
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.
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.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
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).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
having more than one female as a mate at one time
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.
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sound above the range of human hearing for either navigation or communication or both
living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Altringham, J. 1996. Bats: Biology and Behaviour. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Barclay, R. 1983. Echolocation calls of emballonurid bats from Panama. Journal of Comparative Physiology, 151: 515-520.
Bradbury, J., S. Vehrencamp. 1977. Social organization and foraging in emballonurid bats. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2: 19-29.
Bradbury, J., S. Vehrencamp. 1976. Social organization and foraging in emballonurid bats: I. Field studies. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 1: 337-381.
Caspers, B., F. Schroeder, S. Franke, J. Streich, C. Voigt. 2009. Odor based recognition in two sympatric species of sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata, S. leptura): Combining chemical analyses, behavioural observations, and preference tests. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 63/5: 741-749.
Eisenberg, J. 1989. Mammals of the Neotropics: The northern Neotropics, Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Genoud, M., F. Bonaccorso. 1986. Temperature regulation, rate of metabolism, and roost temperature in the greater white-lined bat Saccopteryx bilineata Emballonuridae. Physiological Zoology, 591: 49-54.
Jones, J., C. Hood. 1993. Synopsis of South American bats of the family Emballonuridae.. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, 155: 1-32. Accessed March 29, 2009 at http://www.loyno.edu/~chood/joneshood1993.pdf.
Kalka, M., A. Smith, E. Kalko. 2008. Bats limit arthropods and herbivory in a tropical forest. Science, 320: 71.
Nowak, R. 1994. Walker's Bats of the World. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Sampaio, E., B. Lim, S. Peters, B. Miller, A. Cuaron, P. de Grammont. 2008. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Accessed March 30, 2009 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/19804.
Scully, W., M. Fenton, A. Saleuddin. 2000. A histological examination of the holding sacs and glandular scent organs of some bat species (Emballonuridae, Hipposideridae, Phyllostomidae, Vespertilionidae, and Molossidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 78: 613-623.
Tuttle, M. 1970. Distribution and zoogeography of Peruvian bats, with comments on natural history. University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 49: 45-86.
Voight, C., G. Heckel, O. von Helverson. 2006. Conflicts and Strategies in the Harem-Polygynous Mating System of the Sac-Winged Bat, Saccopteryx bilineata. Pp. 269-289 in A Zubaid, G McCracken, T Kunz, eds. Functional and Evolutionary Ecology of Bats. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Wilkinson, G., J. South. 2002. Life history, ecology and longevity in bats. Aging Cell, 1/2: 124-131. Accessed March 31, 2009 at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/products/journals/suppmat/ACE/ACE020/ACE020sm.htm.
Williams-Guillen, K., Y. Perfecto, J. Vandermeer. 2008. Bats limit insects in a neotropical agroforestry system. Science, 320/5872: 70.
Yancey, F., J. Goetze, C. Jones. 1998. Saccopteryx bilinieata. Mammalian Species, 0/581: 1-5. Accessed March 29, 2009 at http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/Biology/VHAYSSEN/msi/.