Lesser bulldog bat

Noctilio albiventris TAXONOMY

Noctilio albiventris Desmarest, 1818, Bahia, Brazil. Formerly known as Noctilio labialis, four subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 2.5-2.6 in (65-68 mm); forearm length 2.7 in (70 mm); foot length <0.7 in (<20 mm); combined foot and tibia length <1.5 in (<40 mm); tail length 0.5-0.6 in (13-16 mm); ear length 0.8-0.9 in (22-24 mm); wingspan 11.2-14.9 in

(285-380 mm). Males are significantly larger than females in body measurements and in the development of the sagittal crest. Distinguished from greater bulldog bats by their smaller size and less extravagantly modified feet.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs from Honduras and western Guatemala in the north to Argentina, Paraguay, and coastal Brazil in the south.

HABITAT

Forage over rivers, streams, and wetlands in wet, tropical forests up to an altitude of 3,610 ft (1,100 m).

BEHAVIOR

Available evidence suggests that there are two activity peaks in a night, one soon after dusk and another after midnight. Foraging occurs in small groups over bodies of water. Roosts are occupied by small to large groups of bats; they can be found roosting with Molossus species.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Primarily insectivorous. Analyses of stomach contents and feces suggest that they eat a wide variety of insects, some of which are taken from the water. In some areas, individuals have been found with fish scales, pollen, and fruit seeds in their stomachs as well. They forage in groups of eight to 15.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Most likely polygynous. Females give birth to one young per year. Breeding season may vary regionally, but available evidence suggests that breeding occurs once yearly. Pregnant females have been recorded primarily from February through May. A captive infant was nursed for nearly three months.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Currently abundant throughout their range.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Control populations of potential insect pests. ♦

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