Rainforest Bats

Rainforest Bats in Manu National Park

 

Bats to Manu National Jungle:

The bat or murcielago gets a hard time from many quarters, but these little winged mammals perform important ecological as well as mythical services. Bats are renowned as specialist predators of nocturnal flying insects and, with such an abundance of prey; tropical bats reach a high degree of diversity. Depending on the exact boundaries and details of classification, 150-200 species are recorded from Amazonia: the most diverse bat fauna in the world and 40% of the region’s total mammals.

The majority are insectivorous. Notable are the vespertilionid bats, found across the Americas, and the spear-nosed bats (Phyllostominae) who have complex ears and ‘nose-leaves’ to emit sound. Yet in this hotbed of evolution all these kinds of bats do not coexist on one food source. Best-known alternative niche occupants are vampire bats (Desmodus spp), inspiration for dozens of Hollywood horror movies. Of course, a preferred diet of fresh mammal blood does nothing to endear them to us, but reality is more complicated than legend. Vampires rarely attack humans – their usual victims are cattle or wild mammals.

They do not suck blood. So gently do a vampire’s sharp incisor – not canine – teeth cut a small flap of skin, it does not startle the prey. The bat then lapaes blood as it seeps from the wound, while anti-coagulant saliva prevents clotting. The largest Amazon bat, the greater bull-dog or fishing bat (Noctilio leporinus), plucks fish from the water in the manner of an osprey. Besides piscivores, sanguivores and insectivores, there are frog-eating bats; bird-eating bats and even bat-eating bats.Many are fruit- and nectar-feeders. Neotropica fruit bats belong to the order Microchiroptera.

They evolved from insectivorous bats rather than a separate ancestor as is believed to be the case with Old-world mega chiropterans frugivores disperse seeds and nectarivores pollinate many trees bat pollinated flowers are often cauliflorous, large, white and heavily perfumed,many bats leave their hiding-place just before or after dusk to forage overnight spending the day roosting in well-hidden spots, including tree-holes- leaf tents or caves Porcupine, coati, tamanduas and related species cross easily from tree to forest floor. These medium-sized animals are equally at home among lofty branches or in shady undergrowth. Larger animals tend to stay on the ground, but not always if scared, tapir charge headlong into water, whereas a jaguar or puma bolts into a tree.