Greater spearnosed bat

Phyllostomus hastatus

SUBFAMILY

Phyllostominae

TAXONOMY

Phyllostomus hastatus (Pallas, 1767), Suriname.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 4.1-4.9 in (103-124 mm); tail 0.4-1.1 in (10-29 mm); forearm 3.1-3.7 in (80-93 mm); weight 2.8-3.9 oz (78-110 g); upper body is dark brown or reddish brown, lower body is somewhat paler.

DISTRIBUTION

Honduras to Paraguay and southeastern Brazil, and Trinidad.

HABITAT

Lowland tropical forests; roosts in caves, hollow trees, culverts, and abandoned buildings.

BEHAVIOR

Relatively sedentary and nonmigratory; roosts in colonies of dozens to thousands of individuals. Females communicate with harem-mates by giving audible screeching calls.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Omnivorous and eats insects (beetles), small vertebrates (reptiles, mammals), nectar, and pollen (especially Ochroma), and fruit (especially Cecropia). Individuals forage within 6.2 mi (10 km) of their roosts; female harem-mates may forage in groups but not with their harem males. Different groups of females within a roost forage in different areas.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monestrous and polygynous, with mating and birth being quite synchronous within a roost. Births occur in April or May. Mating system is harem-polygynous with single harem males defending groups of up to about 20 females. Female harem composition is very stable with most individuals remaining together their entire lives. Recently weaned females form new social groups and do not join groups of older females. Harem male turnover rates are relatively high.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Widespread and locally common to uncommon; vulnerable to cave disturbance and habitat fragmentation.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Important pollinator and seed-disperser of certain tropical trees. ♦

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