Bats: A World of Science and Mystery
M. Brock Fenton, Nancy B. Simmons
Bats: A World of Science and Mystery presents these fascinating nocturnal creatures in a new light. Lush, full-color photographs portray bats in flight, feeding, and mating in views that show them in exceptional detail. The photos also take the reader into the roosts of bats, from caves and mines to the tents some bats build out of leaves. A comprehensive guide to what scientists know about the world of bats, the book begins with a look at bats’ origins and evolution. The book goes on to address a host of questions related to flight, diet, habitat, reproduction, and social structure: Why do some bats live alone and others in large colonies? When do bats reproduce and care for their young? How has the ability to fly—unique among mammals—influenced bats’ mating behavior? A chapter on biosonar, or echolocation, takes readers through the system of high-pitched calls bats emit to navigate and catch prey. More than half of the world’s bat species are either in decline or already considered endangered, and the book concludes with suggestions for what we can do to protect these species for future generations to benefit from and enjoy.
From the tiny “bumblebee bat”—the world’s smallest mammal—to the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox, whose wingspan exceeds five feet, A Battery of Bats presents a panoramic view of one of the world’s most fascinating yet least-understood species.
wing membranes meet down the middle of the back. (Figure 3.7A) Naked-backed bats include some species of Old World Fruit Bats (genus Dobsonia) and some Moustached Bats such as Davy’s Nakedbacked Bat. (Figure 3.7) In these bats, the wing membranes meet in the middle of the back, covering the fur beneath. The biological significance of this arrangement remains unclear, although the enlarged area of the flight membrane may contribute additional lift during flight. The reduced drag associated with
ultrasonic. There is more to the story about echolocation calls than bat size. Some bats with very big ears are likely candidates to produce echolocation calls audible to humans. But the degree to which a person can hear bats depends on how sensitive he or she is to hearing sounds at higher frequencies. Children can hear bats more often than adults because they have not yet suffered one of the common effects of human ageing—loss of hearing in the higher ranges. My favorite example is listening
of Science and Mystery Similar Yet Different: Bats Compared to Birds and Pterosaurs The wing skeletons of bats and those of other flying vertebrates—birds and pterosaurs—are very different from one another although they originated evolutionarily from the same basic set of arm bones common to all terrestrial vertebrates. (Figure 1.5) Ancestrally, the arm skeleton of bird, bat and pterosaur precursors contained the same set of bones that humans have: a single upper arm bone (humerus), a pair of
upon the difference between air temperature and body temperature. In tropical and subtropical settings, even small bats can remain warm in roosts without expending too much energy. (See Figure 6.1C.) Pregnant and nursing Gray Myotis (Myotis grisescens) congregate in large numbers in domed chambers in caves mainly in the Southeastern United States. The collective body heat of all these bats raises the temperature in the dome enough to foster rapid growth of young. Some species of Bent-winged
Which one is the “real” male? The one on the right. Photograph (A) by Brock Fenton; (B) by E. L. Clare. 181 8 Behavior of Bats 182 Bats: A World of Science and Mystery Chapter 8: Behavior of Bats 183 A B C D Figure 8.1. Honduran White Bats in a tent made from a False Bird-of-Paradise leaf (A, B and D) as well as a group of seven Tent-making Bats in a tent (C). The White Bats’ tent is viewed from below (A), from above (B), and the bats are shown both in digital (A) and thermal (D)