A great animal for the world

Panama Wildlife

Bats are one of those creatures that usually are not within many people’s “affections,” but they play such important ecological roles, as prey and predator, seed dispersal agent, pollination assistant, and nutrient distribution provider that maybe they should make more people’s favorite list.  All of these roles are extremely important for our life, but there is one other role, that makes a lot people happy just thinking about it, their role in controlling insects. It’s really difficult to estimate the amount of insects consumed by bats.  There are a lot of variations that affect the numbers, but studies have estimated that insectivorous bats can eat 25%, 70%, or even up to 100% of their body weight each night in insects. To illustrate the picture, a colony of 450 bats of two different species is estimated to consume 7.6 million insects.  Sounds good, don`t you think?

Since I have mentioned some of the important roles these amazing animals play in the world, I want to talk a bit about a little neighbor we have at Tranquilo Bay, the Lesser White-lined Bat (Saccopteryx leptura).  Those little guys, that we often see near the main building, “attached to the wall” during the day, feed mostly on Hymenoptera, a group of insects with more than 200,000 species, that includes Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies.

This species of bats roost in small colonies, between two to nine individuals, usually approximately the same number of each sex. After the baby is born, the females carry them for 10 to 15 days and after that they can fly on their own.  Females can have two pregnancies a year. The species is found from Chiapas and Tabasco, in Mexico, down to Peru.

Well, after all this, I hope that if you do not like bats, maybe you see them now with a different “eye.”


–       © Mohammed Kasso and Mundanthra Balakrishnan. 2013. Ecological and Economic Importance of Bats (Order Chiroptera).  At: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/187415/

–       Nogueira, Marcelo, et al. 2002. Notes of the lesser white-lined bat, Saccopteryx leptura (Schreber) (Chriptera, Emballonuridae from southeastern Brazil. Revista de Zoologia 19 (4):1123-1130. At: http://r1.ufrrj.br/labmasto/publicacoes/50.pdf

–     http://www.taxateca.com/ordenhymenoptera.html

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