The lesser bulldog bat is a neotropical mammal. Its range extends from southern Mexico, to eastern Brazil then south into northern Argentina and Peru (Wilson and Reeder 1993).
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Forearm length: 54-70 mm.
The upper parts of N. albiventris are grayish brown to yellowish in color or bright red. Typically color is sexually dimorphic, with males being bright red and females dull brown and drab. Individuals have a paler middorsal line and paler underparts. The nose of these bats is very pointy, but has no nose leaf or other projections. The tail extends about half of the length of the well-developed uropatagium. The relatively short hind limbs are almost completely free from the wing membrane. The wings of N. albiventris are long and narrow in comparison to other families within Microchiroptera. Noctilio albiventris can be distinguished from its close relative N. leporinus by its smaller size, smaller hind limbs and smaller claws on the hind feet (Nowak 1994).
Range mass: 18 to 44 g.
Range length: 57 to 85 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in a variety of vegetation types throughout its range, but it is always located near streams, bodies of water or other moist places. Bulldog bats typically roost in hollow trees, foliage and man-made structures. Members of this species have been found in association with the mastiff bat Molossus molossus; the roost can easily be identified by the musky odor of the lesser bulldog bat (Nowack 1994).
Habitat Regions: tropical
Noctilio albiventris individuals use echolocation to locate insects near the surface of the water. Although the other member of this genus, N. leporinus, is piscivorous, N. albiventris is primarily insectivorous. The feeding behavior of N. albiventris is flexible. Aerial capture is used as the primary foraging strategy, but if an insect falls to the surface of the water, N. albiventris is able to quickly change its foraging strategy to capture the insect by scooping it up from the surface of the water (pointed dip) or by raking the surface of the water with its hind claws (directed random rake) (Lewis-Oritt et al. 2001). This behavioral plasticity is thought to be a precursor to the evolution of piscivorous feeding behavior in N. leporinus (Kalko et al. 1998). In laboratory studies, N. albiventris has been trained to take floating fish from the surface of the water (Suthers and Fattu 1973) and researchers have identified fish scales in N. albiventris guano. There have been limited observations of these bats taking fish in the wild (Galileu Coelho, pers. comm.). Based on studies of the stomach contents of N. albiventris, most of the diet is derived from insects (Nowak 1994).
Animal Foods: fish; insects
Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )
Lesser bulldog bats are important predators of insects in the ecosystems in which they live.
Predators of bats are typically either terrestrial predators that take young from roosts, such as snakes, raccoons, ringtail cats, or small cats, or avian predators that take adults on the wing, such as falcons, hawks, or owls.
Life History and Behavior
Noctilio albiventris individuals can live 10-12 years in the wild (Brown et al. 1983).
Little else is known about the reproductive strategy of N. albiventris, however the mating system of its close relative N. leporinus is documented. Noctilio leporinus live in single-male/multiple-female groups in year-round harems with stable female composition (Walker 1964).
The reproductive behavior of N. albiventris is highly synchronous. These bats have a well defined breeding season with mating occurring in late November or December and birth occurring in late April or early May (Hooper and Brown 1968). Lactation continues for 3 months, and then juveniles are weaned. Only 1 young is born per year (Walker 1964). Young probably reach sexual maturity after their first year of life. At birth lesser bulldog bats have eyes that are barely open, ears that are incompletely developed and a distinct lack of hair. The baby bats are relatively slow to acquire fur and to attain the proportions of an adult. Most are able to fly 35 to 44 days after birth. Although echolocation is an important tool utilized in flight by adult bats, baby bats cannot fly and therefore do not emit echolocation signals. Newborn bats do not even show a behavioral or physiological response to sound until they are a week old. Vocal, auditory and motor systems appear to develop at a similar rate, resulting in a juvenile bat that is able to forage 3 to 6 weeks after birth (Brown et al. 1983).
Breeding season: Mating occurs from November to December and births occur from April to May.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range gestation period: 4 to 5 weeks.
Average weaning age: 3 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous
This species is relatively altricial. Young are born helpless and are nursed and cared for by their mother until they reach independence.
Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Noctilio albiventris
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
This species is currently not listed.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Direct economic impact of this species has not been determined. However, these bats serve an important pest management function throughout their range and can produce commercially valuable guano.
Positive Impacts: produces fertilizer; controls pest population
Lesser bulldog bat
These bats are reddish brown in color. They have a length of about three inches (7.5 cm), a forearm length of 2 1⁄2 inches (6.4 cm), and weight of about one ounce (30 grams). The bats usually live near water or damp locations, residing in hollow trees or domestic dwellings. They attempt to capture by echolocation insects flying near the surface of water. The bats also have the ability to capture insects that fall onto the water surfaces. Occasionally, the larger bats catch and consume small fish (the most closely related species, the greater bulldog bat, is known for its fishing ability).
They live about ten years and reach sexual maturity in one year.