IUCN threat status:

Data Deficient (DD)

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Visored bat (Sphaeronycteris toxophyllum)

The visored bat lives in tropical South America. It is the only species in the genus Sphaeronycteris. It is thought to be most closely related to little white-shouldered bats and wrinkle-faced bats (2).

The bat ranges from 52-63 mm (2.0-2.5 in) in head-body length, the forearm length is about 40 mm and the bat weighs about 17 g. There is no external tail. The dorsum is cinnamon brown or greyish-brown fur, with individual whitish hairs, becoming paler towards the front of the body; the bat has grey or brownish-white underparts and white spots on each shoulder and just below the ears. The side of the face has fleshy outgrowths. The bat has a rounded head with a short, hairless snout, a wide mouth and bulging golden-brown eyes. The triangular ears have a narrow tragus. The "visor" is not found in any other bat species (2). It consists of a horny outgrowth above and behind the horseshoe-shaped nose-leaf. In females it is a relatively small ridge-like structure above the centre of each eye, from where it connects to a central ridge behind the nose-leaf. In adult males, it is much larger, reaching four times the size in females, and stretches to the lateral corners of the eyes (3). Males can pull the large fold of skin, under the chin, up over the face as a mask while sleeping; the fold is much smaller and apparently non-functional in females (2). The bat resembles Centurio but has less extreme facial outgrowths and a third lower molar (4). The bat has a rounded head with a short, hairless snout, a wide mouth and bulging golden-brown eyes. The triangular ears have a narrow tragus. The "visor" is not found in any other bat species (2). It consists of a horny outgrowth above and behind the horseshoe-shaped nose-leaf. In females it is a relatively small ridge-like structure above the centre of each eye, from where it connects to a central ridge behind the nose-leaf. In adult males, it is much larger, reaching four times the size in females, and stretches to the lateral corners of the eyes (3). Males can pull the large fold of skin on the neck up over the face as a mask while sleeping; the fold is much smaller and apparently non-functional in females (2).

The bat lives in Venezuela, eastern Colombia and the eastern Amazon Basin and neighbouring areas, including eastern Ecuador and Peru, northwestn Brazil and northern Bolivia (1). It inhabits various forest environments from tropical rainforest to montane cloud forest and from sea level to 3,000 m (9,800 ft) along the eastern slopes of the Andes. It usually lives in dense forest, especially primary multistratal tropical evergreen forest, but may live in man-made pastures and urban areas (2). It may follow gallery forest into dry habitats.

It is nocturnal and lives alone or in pairs; some roost in underground cavities or in fig trees. It feeds on fruit; the stomach contents of one bat resembled yellowish fruit pulp (5). It probably disperses fruit seeds. It breeds twice a year, at the start and end of the rainy season (2).

The bat is listed Lower Risk/least concern, but and few specimens have been collected (1) and the bat is rare, with a low density throughout its range and may become Near Threatened. It can be locally common in appropiate habitat, especially along the flanks of the Cordillera la Costa. It is affected by habitat loss in some parts of its range, although this is not considered a major threat. It has no known negative or positive economic Importance for humans.

Unreviewed

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