Greater Bulldog Bat
The Greater Bulldog Bat or Fisherman Bat (Noctilio leporinus) is a type of fishing bat native to Latin America. The bats use echolocation to detect water ripples made by the fish upon which they prey, then use sharp claws to catch and cling to the fish.It is not to be confused with the Lesser Bulldog Bat, which, though belonging to the same genus, merely catches water insects, such as water striders and water beetles.
It emits echolocation sounds through the mouth like Myotis daubentoni, but the sounds are quite different, containing a long constant frequency part around 55 kHz, which is an unusually high frequency for a bat this large.
The Greater Bulldog Bat is a large bat, often with a wingspan of 1 meter (3 ft.), and a combined body and head legnth of 1.9 to 12.7 cm (4.6 to 5 in.). The males are larger than the females. They have large claws for catching fish. Their fur is short and water resistant. Their large wings are very strong. If they drop into the water while foraging, they can use their wings as paddles to gain speed. Once they have enough speed, they can leap out of the water and take flight.
The Greater Bulldog bat is found in lowlands and moist areas in Central and South America, and throughout the Caribbean. Their roosts are often very close to a water source. This can be any water; a lake, river, pond, pool, or even the sea will suffice.
The Greater Bulldog Bat's primary food source is fish. They catch fish by using echolocation to scan the water's surface for ripples caused by fish swimming near the surface. Their echolocation is so precise that they can detect a minnow's fin as thin as a human hair poking only a few millimetres out of the water, an astounding feat of evolution. Groups of these bats can be seen zig-zagging low over the water to send out their chirpy echolocation calls. Once they have located a fish they will drag their large feet and strong claws through the water, grabbing their meal. They will then carry the fish to a perch, and then eat it. They will also occasionally snatch an insect or crustacean, which are also carried to a roost.
The Greater Bulldog Bats usually mate only once a year, often resulting in a single pup. Breeding season varies from region to region.
- Chiroptera Specialist Group (1996). Noctilio leporinus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2006.
- Mulheisen, Michael; Berry, Kathleen. "Noctilio leporinus". Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Noctilio_leporinus.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
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