Many bats have noseleaves or other kinds of ornaments on their faces. Noseleaves characterize almost all members of the families Phyllostomidae, Rhinolophidae and Megadermatidae. The exact shape and position of the noseleaf can be an important character for identifying and classifying a bat. The function of noseleaves is believed to be in focusing echolocation calls as they are emitted (these bats call through their noses). Other facial structures, such as the swellings often seen on the snout of vespertilionids or the bumps and lappets of the face of Centurio (Phyllostomidae), may be glandular, but this is usually not known for certain.

Below are photographs of the faces of five bats representing the three families mentioned above. Each photograph links to a full-sized view of the same imge. Two of the bats shown, Phyllostomus, and Centurio, are phyllostomids. Most phyllostomids have well developed noseleaves like that of Phyllostomus; the latter is unusual and probably a derived condition.

  • Megadermatidae (Lavia)
  • Rhinolophidae (Hipposideros)
  • Phyllostomidae (Phyllostomus)
  • Phyllostomidae (Centurio)