Northern Mexico to Paraguay and northern Argentina, Jamaica, Bahamas.
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
The average weight of of 6 adults from north coast of Colombia is 9 g; average weights of 10.5 g have been reported for other populations. Average forearm skull lengths for 4 males from Nicaragua are 36.4 and 21.45 mm, respectively. The same measurements for 4 females from Nicaragua are 35.75 and 21.3 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Average mass: 9.6 g.
Average basal metabolic rate: 0.164 W.
Sonoran-Sinaloan Transition Subtropical Dry Forest Habitat
This taxon is found in the Sonoran-Sinaloan transition subtropical dry forest ecoregion, which comprises a distinct zone of dry forest that forms a north-south transition between the Sonoran Desert to the north and the Sinaloan dry forests to the south. There is a generally low faunal endemism and faunal species richnesss; for example, only 310 vertebrates species are found in the ecoregion, with a notable lack of amphibians and reptiles present. Characteristically tropical species include the magnificent Black-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta colliei). On the other hand, many more typically northern desert species are also found here, including Jumping Cholla cactus (Opuntia fulgida) and Fish-hook Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wisliznei).
Bio-climatically, the ecoregion is classified as a dry steppe life-zone, in contrast to the more humid seasonal forests to the south, and arid deserts to the north. Like neighboring regions, rainfall predominates in the summers. Annual rainfall is approximately 10-20 cm. Because of its proximity to the coast, fluctuations in annual temperatures are only on the order of 10-15° C (difference between median monthly high and low temperature). Frost and temperatures below freezing are rare, in contrast to the Sonoran Desert, to the north. Unlike the distinctly xeric desert vegetation to the north, and the tropical deciduous forest to the south, the vegetation of the Sonoran-Sinaloan transition dry forest is dominated by a deciduous thorn forest or selva espinosa. Pockets of semiarid mattoral as well as thorn scrub are also present.
Dominant trees in this forest include many species from the families Acaciaceae, Burseraceae and Leguminosae. Cacti, such as Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi), are often conspicuous and abundant. Overall, this dry forest is less pronounced and more seasonal than its southern cousin, particularly as one moves north to the margins of the Sonoran Desert. Common and characteristic plants include several acacias: Boat-thorned Acacia (Acacia cochliacantha); and Sonoran Tree Catclaw or Tésota (Acacia occidentalis). The former, a shrub, or small tree, is the only local acacia with boat-shaped thorns. The latter acacia flowers prolifically in March, perfuming the air so heavily that it can often be sensed by scent before it is seen. Another common species in the thorn forest is Torote Prieto (Bursera fragilis).
A number of mammalian taxa are found in this arid ecoregion, among them the following special status taxa; Margay (Leopardus wiedii NT); Mexican Big-eared Bat (Plecotus mexicanus NT); Mexican Long-tongued Bat (Choeronycteris mexicana NT); and the Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae VU).
Although precise figures are not available, this region also supports a number of endemic and rare plants, including the arborescent morning glory or palo santo (Ipomea arborescens). This species flowers in the dry season, thus providing pollen to nectar-feeding long-tongued bats (Choeronycteris mexicana and Glossophaga soricina) – amongst the most important pollinators of the Sonoran region – at a time when few other plants are in flower.
- G. Ceballos and A. García. 1995. Conserving neotropical diversity: The role of dry forests in Western Mexico. Conservation Biology 9:6 (1349-1356).
- World Wildlife Fund & C. Michael Hogan. 2013."Sonoran-Sinaloan transition subtropical dry forest". Encyclopedia of Earth, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC ed. Rhonda Lorraine Millikin
Foraging habitat for G. soricina is described as moist and open.
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
Habitat and Ecology
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 10.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Reproductive behavior varies somewhat geographically, though most accounts indicate that G. soricina either breeds continuously throughout the year or is bimodally polyestrous. Gestation lasts approximately 3.5 months. Normally only single offspring, but twins have been reported. Parturition occurs with the young in the head down position. Young cling cross-wise to the mother's ventral surface with the head just posterior to the mother's throat. Young have been obsereved hanging on their own at 18 days, but they are known to remain attached to their mother as late as 20 days old. Flight begins at about 25 to 28 days after birth.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average gestation period: 106 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Evolution and Systematics
The wing of Pallas's long-tongued bat overcomes the continuous resistance on its membrane by flipping its outer edge upside down and then quickly back up during the upstroke.
"On the downstroke of a bird's wing during slow flight, for instance, the primary feathers form a solid plane that pushes downward and backward on the air, propelling the bird upward and forward. On the upstroke, the primaries separate, and much of the air that would push the bird back down rushes through the gaps instead. The wing of a bat, however, is a membrane that offers continuous resistance. What happens during its upstroke?
Anders Hedenström of Lund University in Sweden and his colleagues studied vortices in the wake of the Pallas's long-tongued bat, Glossophaga soricina, in the fog-filled air of a wind tunnel. At slow speeds, they discovered, both the downstroke and the upstroke push the animal up and forward. To move the bat forward and upward during the upstroke, the outer part of the wing flips upside down and flicks quickly backward. (At high speeds, the wing doesn't flip and part of it does push the bat down during the upstroke, but that resistance is at least partly compensated for by continuous lift on the front of the wing at the higher speed.)
Whether the flip-flop is common to all bats or an adaptation special to the ones that hover—such as G. soricina, a nectar-eater—remains to be seen. (Science)" (Reebs 2007)
"The flapping flight of animals generates an aerodynamic footprint as a time-varying vortex wake in which the rate of momentum change represents the aerodynamic force. We showed that the wakes of a small bat species differ from those of birds in some important respects. In our bats, each wing generated its own vortex loop. Also, at moderate and high flight speeds, the circulation on the outer (hand) wing and the arm wing differed in sign during the upstroke, resulting in negative lift on the hand wing and positive lift on the arm wing. Our interpretations of the unsteady aerodynamic performance and function of membranous-winged, flapping flight should change modeling strategies for the study of equivalent natural and engineered flying devices." (Hedenström 2007:894)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Hedenström, A.; Johansson, L.C.; Wolf, M.; von Busse, R.; Winter, Y.; Spedding, G.R. 2007. Bat flight generates complex aerodynamic tracks. Science. 316: 894-897.
- Johansson, L.C.; Wolf, M.; von Busse, R.; Winter, Y.; Spedding, G.R.; Hedenström, A. 2008. The near and far wake of Pallas’ long tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina). J. Exp. Biol. 211: 2909-2918.
- Muijres, F.; Johansson, C.J.; Barfield, R.; Wolf, M.; Spedding, G.R.; Hedenström, A. 2008. Leading edge vortex improves lift in slow-flying bats. Science. 319: 1250-1253.
- Stéphan Reebs. 2007. Flip-Flop Flap. Natural History: Samplings--News from Nature [Internet], Accessed 9/18/2007.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Glossophaga soricina
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Glossophaga soricina
Public Records: 196
Specimens with Barcodes: 418
Species With Barcodes: 1
There are no indications that G. soricina is threatened at present.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
This species is probably important as a pollinator of flowers and disperser of seeds of economically important plant species.
Pallas's long-tongued bat
It has the fastest metabolism ever recorded in a mammal, similar to those of hummingbirds. Although it uses 50% of its stored fat over the course of a day, over 80% of its energy comes directly from the simple sugars that compose its diet of nectar, without being stored in any form.
A 2013 study determined that their tongues have a mopping ability that is powered by blood, a phenomenon unique in nature. Elongated hairs at the tongue's tip, which normally lie flat, become engorged with blood when the tongue is protruded. As a result the hairs stand in erect rows, perpendicular to the tongue. The tongue tip increases by over 50 percent in length, contracting its width to squeeze enlarged vascular sinuses along the tongue's length, that are directly connected to the hairs. During this process tissue capillaries turn from pink (little blood) to dark red. The blood vessel networks that enter the tip of the tongue are fringed by muscle fibers, which contract to compress the blood vessels and displace blood towards the tip. The efficiency of this feeding mechanism is believed to enable the bats' survival on limited food sources.
- C.C. Voigt & J.R. Speakman (2007). "Nectar-feeding bats fuel their high metabolism directly with exogenous carbohydrates". Funct. Ecol. OnlineEarly Articles (5): 913. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2435.2007.01321.x.
- A 2013 study at Brown University by Cally J. Harper et al., see: Handwerk, Brian (May 6, 2013). "The Pallas's long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina) is known for the lengthy tongue it uses to lap up nectar". National Geographic News. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- Chiroptera Specialist Group 1996. Glossophaga soricina. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 26 October 2008.
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