Nyctinomops laticaudatusbroad-eared bat(Also: Espirito Santo free-tailed bat)

Geographic Range

Broad-eared bats are found in tropical and subtropical Central and South America. They occur at elevations up to 1700 m, but are most often found at elevations less than 500 m. The species ranges as far north as northern Mexico and south to central South America. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)


Broad-eared bats roost and forage in several different habitats. They can be found in tropical evergreen forests, deciduous forest, subtropical moist forests, thorn forests with mangrove and coconut trees, cloud forests, and swampy chacoan vegetaion. These bats are also found roosting in crevices in man-made structures, between rocks and in cracks on rocky cliffs. In northeast Mexico, they have been found roosting in caves. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

  • Range elevation
    sea level to 1700 m
    to 5577.43 ft

Physical Description

Broad-eared bats are smaller than Nyctinomops aurispinosis and N yctinomops macrotis and have a relatively smaller braincase. Their coloration is generally brown on top and paler beneath. The wing membranes have no hair and are semitransparent. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

The upper lip of broad-eared bats is wrinkled and turned up. The nostrils are raised on small tubes backed by a hard ridge. These bats have prolonged and delicate mandibles. Individuals of the northern subspecies are larger than those from the southern part of the range. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

Individuals measure 88 to 141 mm in total length, of which, between 34 and 57 mm is contributed by the tail.

  • Range length
    88 to 141 mm
    3.46 to 5.55 in
  • Range wingspan
    forearm length, 41 to forearm length, 64 mm
    to in


The mating system of these animals has not been reported.

Broad-eared bats breed during the rainy season, which varies by location. Each female will come into estrous only once a year, and usually has only one young. Parturition is synchronous. The young are able to open their eyes, lift their ears and move over flat surfaces a few hours after birth. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

  • Breeding interval
    These bats breed once per year.
  • Breeding season
    These animal apparently breed in the rainy season.
  • Average number of offspring

Details on the parental care of this species are not available. However, it is likely that the female performs most of the parental care, as she nurses the offspring.

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • precocial
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • protecting
      • female


No data available


Little is known about these animals. Broad-eared bats may form resident colonies, but phylopatry is very low. The genus is not reported to be very gregarious. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002; Nowak, 1997)

Home Range

The size of the home range of these animals is not known.

Communication and Perception

Broad-eared bats have been heard making audible chirps, but no data was collected regarding the use or meaning of the chirps. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

As mammals, it is likely that these bats use visual, chemical and tactile communication, especialy when in the roost.

Food Habits

Broad-eared bats primarily eat coleopterans taken in flight, but also feed on lepidopterans. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects


Broad-eared bats are preyed upon by barn owls (Tyto alba), Stygian owls (Asio stygius), snakes and sparrow hawks. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

Ecosystem Roles

Broad-eared bats feed on numerous insect species and are food for at least two species of owls. This being the case, these bats are probably very important in structuring local insect populations. Their use as prey by owls, hawks, and snakes means they could have a positive impact on populations of those animals. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There is no information available on the possible economic importance of these animals to humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Broad-eared bats may carry rabies. (Nowak, 1997)

  • Negative Impacts
  • injures humans
    • carries human disease

Conservation Status

Broad-eared bats are rare or uncommon throughout their range, except in the Yucatan Peninsula. They are not listed afforded any special protection under CITES or IUCN. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002; "IUCN", 2002; "CITES", 2002)

Other Comments

Their are five subspecies of broad-eared bats: Nyctinomops laticaudatus europs, N. l. ferrugineus, N. l. laticaudatus, N. l. macarensis and N. l. yucatanicus. (Avila-Flores, et al., 2002)

Nowak (1999) reports that there is still some confusion on the nomenclature related to this species. In times past, it was called Nyctinomops laticaudatus. However, most people now recognize this name as synonomys with N. laticaudatus. Still, because of this confusion organizations like IUCN may have this species classified under a different species name. (Nowak, 1999)


Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Christopher Kocovsky (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.



living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map


uses sound to communicate

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.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


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.


union of egg and spermatozoan


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


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.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


generally wanders from place to place, usually within a well-defined range.

seasonal breeding

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.


uses touch to communicate


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


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.

young precocial

young are relatively well-developed when born


CITES. 2002. "CITES" (On-line ). Accessed 12/01/02 at

IUCN. 2002. "IUCN" (On-line ). Accessed 12/01/02 at

Avila-Flores, R., J. j. Flores-Martinez, J. Ortega. 2002. Nyctinomops laticaudatus. Mammalian Species, no. 697: 1-6.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Nowak, R. 1997. "Walker's Mammals of the World" (On-line ). Accessed 12/01/02 at