Feeding ecology and diet

Noctilio leporinus is best known for its remarkable set of adaptations to piscivory. Only one other bat species worldwide is known to prey on fish: Myotis vivesi (Vespertilionidae). N. albiventris is primarily insectivorous, and N. leporinus also includes a large proportion of insects in the diet. Both species use their large cheek pouches to store partially chewed food, possibly allowing them to continue foraging without having to stop to consume their prey fully, as in most bats.

Bulldog bats use constant frequency and frequency-modulated echolocation to detect prey at the surface of the water and in flight. The rear feet are dragged through the water and used to gaff prey at the surface. The stiff, elongate calcars are used to elevate the tail membrane above the surface of the water, minimizing drag. Prey are sometimes transferred to the tail membrane and then to the mouth during flight.

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