Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Disk-Winged Bats: Thyropteridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Spix's Disk-winged Bat (thyroptera Tricolor): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, DISK-WINGED BATS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Disk-Winged Bats: Thyropteridae - Behavior And Reproduction

suction world leaves found

Disk-winged bats use only their suction-like disks to grip and stick to the smooth surfaces of the curled-up leaves in which they roost. They do not use their feet or claws to touch the surface of the leaves.

These bats can support their entire weight with the suction of a single disk. Sweat glands keep the disks' undersurfaces moist, which helps provide the vacuum seal for sticking to the surface. Beneath each disk is a muscle that controls the vacuum. This muscle can create the seal and, when the bat wants to come unstuck, the muscle also undoes the seal. These bats will also lick their disks to help with the suction. Studies have found that these bats have lost the ability to roost on rough surfaces, such as trees and rocks.

Generally only one or two disk-winged bats roost in the same leaf, yet observers have found as many as eight individuals in one leaf. Roosting inside curled leaves protects them from the weather and predators. Leaves open within days, and groups must change roosts often.


One of the puzzling features of the disk-winged bats is their relationship to the Old World sucker-footed bat. Both families of bats feature suction-like disks that allow them to grip onto vertical, smooth surfaces. Yet the Old World sucker-footed bat is found primarily in the rainforests of Madagascar, far away from where New World disk-winged bats are found. The Old World bat also has suction cups on its thumbs and roosts in young, rolled leaves, but their suction cups are thought to be the result of an evolutionary convergence with the suction cups of the New World bats. This means that both groups of bats evolved the suction cups separately, not as a result of their relationship to one another. Unfortunately, there is no fossil record for the New World disk-winged bats.

Like all bats, these bats are nocturnal, meaning that they are active at night. When more than one bat roosts in a leaf, these bats spread out evenly, one above the other. In Costa Rica, a study reported that group sizes ranged from one to nine, and averaged six bats. Generally, the same group moves together from one old leaf to a new roosting site. Bats in this family have been found roosting with bats in another family, the proboscis bat.

Unlike most other bats, individuals in this family typically hang with their head upward. Disk-winged bats use echolocation (eck-oh-loh-KAY-shun) to find prey (animals hunted for food) and detect objects. Echolocation is a process for locating objects by emitting, sending out, sounds, which are reflected back to the bat by objects in the sound's path.

Females roost together in hollow logs to give birth. Males in this family are thought to be polygynous (puh-LIJ-uh-nus), meaning they mate with more than one female during the mating season.

Disk-Winged Bats: Thyropteridae - Spix's Disk-winged Bat (thyroptera Tricolor): Species Account [next] [back] Disk-Winged Bats: Thyropteridae - Physical Characteristics

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