Trident leafnosed bat

Asellia tridens

TAXONOMY

Asellia tridens (Geoffroy, 1813), Egypt.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Medium-sized bats. Total body length 1.8-4.2 in (46-62 mm); forearm length 1.7-2.0 in (45-52 mm); tail length 0.7-2.0 in (18-27 mm); weight 0.2-0.35 oz (6-10 g). Fur coloration varies considerably, ranging from pale yellow to buffy gray and orange-brown, membranes are slightly darker, and the large ears and face are pale. The nose leaf is distinctive, having a large leaf behind the nostrils, with three toothed projections.

DISTRIBUTION

Found throughout Africa north of the Sahara desert, the Arabian Peninsula, and into Pakistan.

HABITAT

One of the most arid-adapted and common of bats in the areas in which they occur. They have been observed roosting in caves, wells, irrigation culverts, and other man-made structures. They are thought to travel between summer roosts and hibernation sites in caves and tombs. Foraging seems to occur in palm groves and other vegetated areas, the bats sometimes flying many miles (kilometers) across barren terrain to suitable feeding sites.

BEHAVIOR

A gregarious species, roosts of several hundred individuals have been routinely observed, with one roost numbering as many as

Sassanid Empire Divided

5,000. They fly in small groups when exiting roosts and fly close to the ground when traveling to and from roosts.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Eat primarily coleopterans (beetles) and hymenopterans (bees, ants, and wasps) that are taken during flight. They have been recorded foraging mainly in cluttered environments, implying that they are agile in flight and may be able to take prey from the ground and other surfaces.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Available evidence suggests that females are pregnant in the spring and give birth to a single young in early summer. Gestation time is estimated at 9-10 weeks, and the young nurse for 40 days after birth, after which they become independent. The time of mating is unknown. Most likely polygynous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Common throughout their range, though disturbance to roosting sites could severely impact local populations.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Control insect pest populations throughout their range and are likely to benefit agricultural interests. ♦

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