Furipteridaesmoky bats and thumbless bats

This family consists of two genera with one species in each genus. Like the natalids, furipterids are small, neotropically distributed members of the superfamily Vespertilionoidea, the largest of the four superfamilies of microbats.

Smoky bats are very small bats with much reduced thumbs that are mostly enclosed in the wing membrane. The crown of the skull is inflated, and they have large, well-separated ears with a small tragus. Curiously, the ears appear to cover their small eyes so that from the front, these bats look strangely eyeless. Furipterids have a small noseleaf, and one species, Amorphochilus, has three triangular fleshy projections from its lower jaw. Their tail is enclosed in the uropatagium; a short portion may project beyond. The fur of furipterids is gray or gray-brown in color and appears coarse.

The premaxilla of furipterids has palatal branches that are reduced to filaments. These bats lack postorbital processes. Their dental formula is 2/3, 1/1, 2/3, 3/3 = 36, and their molars are dilambdadont. The upper canines are relatively small, about the height of the upper premolars.

These bats are strictly insectivorous and may be further limited in diet to moths and butterflies.

Furipterids live in diverse habitats from lowland rainforest to the extremely arid western deserts of South America. Colonies range from 100 to 300 individuals and are known primarily from caves and man-made structures.

Furipterids appear to be closely related to the family Natalidae and Thyropteridae. They have no fossil record.

References and literature cited:

Anderson, S. and J. K. Jones, Jr., 1984. Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 686pp.

Fenton, M. B., P. Racey, and J.M. V. Rayner (eds.), 1987. Recent Advances in the Study of Bats . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Hill, J. E. and J. D. Smith, 1992. Bats: A Natural History . University of Texas Press, Austin.

Lawlor, T. 1979. Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals. Mad River Press.

Macdonald, D. (ed.). 1993. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Facts on File Publications

Richarz, K. and A. Limbrunner. 1993. The World of Bats. Tropical Fish Hobbyist.

Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp.


Bret Weinstein (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (author), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.


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.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


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


uses touch to communicate