Hello, everyone, and welcome to your first edition of Chiroptera Thursday!
This week's Chiroptera Thursday is brought to you by Noctilio leporinus, or the Greater Bulldog Bat. The Greater Bulldog Bat can be found in Latin and South America, and is known for its ability to hunt for fish. The bat uses its echolocation to detect water ripples in the surface of a body of water, and then swoops down to scoop up the fish in the membrane stretched between its legs - although sometimes, the bats will visit areas of water known for jumping fish activity, and will "rake" the surface of the water with their legs and pouch. The Greater Bulldog Bat echolocates by sounding through the mouth like other species of bat, but it emits sounds at a higher frequency than would be expected for a bat so large (about 55 kHz).
The Greater Bulldog Bat can measure up to 5 or 6 inches from the base of the tail to the tip of the nose, with a wingspan of about three feet! Male bats weigh up to 90 grams at the most while female bats average 56 grams. It has rounded nostrils that face forward, giving it the appearance of a short muzzle, like that of a bulldog. These bats live in colonies with hundreds of members, roosting in large tree hollows or caves.
Along with fish, the Greater Bulldog Bat will hunt and eat crabs, scorpion, shrimp and various kinds of insects. While not specifically threatened, it faces similar problems to most species in tropical forested areas, such as deforestation, water pollution and changing water levels.