Free-Tailed Bats and Mastiff Bats: Molossidae
Behavior And Reproduction
Molossids are generally strong flyers that can fly quickly for long periods of time. Like all bats, these bats are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night. These bats fly all night, whereas other bats typically fly a short time during the night. They can fly six or seven hours without stopping.
Molossids catch their prey using echolocation (eck-oh-loh-KAY-shun), a technique where the bat detects objects by receiving the reflection of sounds it produces. They fly with their mouths open and send out echolocation calls. They forage, search for food, in groups and head towards large swarms of insects. They also look for food around streetlights, which attract insects, such as moths. They generally catch their prey while they are flying.
Because they live in warm areas, molossids do not need to hibernate (become inactive in the cooler months to conserve energy). Some of these bats travel to even warmer areas in the winter.
Molossids have a range of roosting habits, from solitary to social, living in large colonies (groups) of millions of individuals. Between those two extremes, sizes of colonies range from hundreds to thousands of individuals. Most of these bats do form colonies in the size of a few tens to several hundred individuals. Molossids generally return to their roosting sites every year. Their colonies generally give off a strong, musky odor.
Little is known about the mating habits of most molossids. Most species are considered polygynous (puh-LIJ-uh-nus), meaning the male mates with more than one female during the mating season. Females of most species appear to produce one offspring per year. Two young are born on rare occasions, and the black mastiff bat in Trinidad possibly has two litters per year. During pregnancy, females generally form maternity colonies that are separate from the males. In these colonies, females relocate and nurse their young independently.
- Free-Tailed Bats and Mastiff Bats: Molossidae - Molossids And People
- Free-Tailed Bats and Mastiff Bats: Molossidae - Habitat
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