Pallass longtongued bat

Glossophaga soricina

SUBFAMILY

Glossophaginae

TAXONOMY

Glossophaga soricina (Pallas, 1766), Suriname.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 1.8-2.3 in (45-59 mm); tail 0.2-0.4 in (5-10 mm); forearm 1.3-1.5 in (33-38 mm); weight 0.3-0.4 oz (7-12 g); upper body is dark brown to reddish brown, lower body is slightly paler.

DISTRIBUTION

Northern Mexico to Paraguay and northern Argentina, Trinidad, Grenada, and Jamaica.

HABITAT

Widespread and common in many tropical lowland habitats; more common in dry forests than in wet forests where it is replaced by Glossophaga commissarisi. Roosts in wide variety of sites, including caves, hollow trees, mines, culverts, and abandoned houses.

BEHAVIOR

A colonial species that lives in colonies of a few hundred to a few thousand individuals. Sedentary and nonmigratory.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Despite having an elongated snout and a long tongue, this bat is an omnivore. Its primary food is nectar and pollen from many species of trees, shrubs, and epiphytes, but it switches to eating fruit (of early successional trees and shrubs) when flower availability is low and eats many insects. Individuals forage solitarily, probably relatively close to their day roosts. Flies for about four hours and for about 28 mi (45 km) to feed each night.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

This is a polyestrous, seasonal breeder. Females undergo two pregnancies a year with births occurring in December-February and April-June in Costa Rica. The mating system has not been described but undoubtedly involves polygyny, though perhaps not harem polygyny. Females form maternity colonies to produce their young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Given its generally high abundance and tolerance of disturbed habitats, this species is not currently threatened with extinction.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

It is an important pollinator and seed disperser of many tropical plants. ♦

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