Amazing Phyllostomidae

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There are 28 different species of bats in Arizona. Most of our bat species are insectivores (insect eaters) but two of bat species are nectarivores (flower nectar drinkers) Nectarivorous bats can be identified from by their larger eyes, smaller ears, and long tongues.
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Late in the summer and early in the fall in southeastern Arizona hummingbird feeders may be visited during the night by nectar-drinking bats that cross over into the U.S. from Mexico Some time in October or so, the bats will migrate south for the winter, where they have their main population centers.

They feed on blooming and fruiting plants such as agave and saguaro cactus. Nectar bats are excellent long-distance fliers who migrate long distances to follow the blooming seasons of their favored plants like the agave plant and the saguaro cactus which depend upon bats for pollination.
Leaf-Nosed Bat Family Phyllostomidae
The lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican long-tongued bat are found in Arizona. Leaf nose is a fleshy protuberance on top of the nose. Both of these bats look quite similar. Both are listed as federally endangered species.

Mexican Long-tongued Bats (Choeronycteris mexicana) is a medium sized bat with a long thin snout and a nose leaf. It has a long tongue that extends to 1/3 of its body length. Its color is gray to brown above and lighter below. Other characteristics include big eyes and a minute tail. Total length 3.5 inches. Mexican long-tongued bat image link
Lesser Long-nosed Bats (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae)  have shorter, broader snouts with leaf nose and range in color from yellow-brown or cinnamon gray. Total head and body measurement of approximately 3 inches. The tongue measures approximately the same length as the body. They are also are tailless. Their wingspan is about 10 inches. lesser long-nosed bat image link.

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I think the majority if not all of the ones at our feeder were Lesser Long-nosed Bats but I am in no way a bat expert. By the photos I found the lesser long-nosed are cuter then the Mexican long-tongued bats.

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Bats  fly up to the feeders and stick their long tongues capture some sugar water and then fly off then circle around the feeder waiting for another turn.

More information about bats at the links below

http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/bats.shtml

http://www.batcon.org/

Edit: Additional link on the length of a bats tongue
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/12/061206-tongue-photo.html

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~ by Meg on September 6, 2009.

One Response to “Amazing Phyllostomidae”

  1. These are some of the most amazing photos I have seen. I did not know bats visited hummingbird feeders.

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