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Bats (Martindale’s Reference Desk)

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bat : any of a widely distributed order (Chiroptera) of nocturnal usually frugivorous or insectivorous flying mammals that have wings formed from four elongated digits of the forelimb covered by a cutaneous membrane and that have adequate visual capabilities but often rely on echolocation — Webster

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Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera; with their forelimbs adapted as wings, they are the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Bats are more manoeuvrable than birds, flying with their very long spread-out digits covered with a thin membrane or patagium. The smallest bat, and arguably the smallest extant mammal, is Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, which is 29–34 mm (1.14–1.34 in) in length, 15 cm (5.91 in) across the wings and 2–2.6 g (0.07–0.09 oz) in mass. The largest bats are the flying foxes and the giant golden-crowned flying fox, Acerodon jubatus, which can weigh 1.6 kg (4 lb) and have a wingspan of 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in).

The second largest order of mammals, bats comprise about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide, with over 1,200 species. These were traditionally divided into two suborders: the largely fruit-eating megabats, and the echolocating microbats. But more recent evidence has supported dividing the order into Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochiroptera, with megabats as members of the former along with several species of microbats. Many bats are insectivores, and most of the rest are frugivores (fruit-eaters). A few species feed on animals other than insects; for example, the vampire bats feed on blood. Most bats are nocturnal, and many roost in caves or other refuges. Bats are present throughout the world, with the exception of extremely cold regions. They are important in their ecosystems for pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds; many tropical plants depend entirely on bats for these services. — Wikipedia

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Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • 'Bat-sense' tech generates images from sound
    on April 30, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    By cleverly analyzing the results, the algorithm can deduce the shape, size and layout of a room, as well as pick out in the presence of objects or people. The results are displayed as a video feed which turns the echo data into three-dimensional vision.

  • Mammals' brains: New research shows bigger...
    on April 29, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    If a friend boasts of having a "big-brained" dog, your reaction is probably not to ask "relative to what?" You would simply assume your friend thinks their dog is pretty smart. But are we always right to equate big brains with greater intelligence?

  • Loss of fauna in tropical forests impedes...
    on April 27, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    The current loss of biological diversity is unprecedented and species extinctions exceed the estimated background rate many times over. Coinciding with increasing human domination and alteration of the natural world, this loss in abundance and diversity is especially pronounced with—but not limited to—fauna in the tropics. A new publication from scientists at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in Sweden and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research […]

  • Researcher questions whether powered flight...
    on April 26, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Powered flight in animals—that uses flapping wings to generate thrus—is a very energetically demanding mode of locomotion that requires many anatomical and physiological adaptations. In fact, the capability to develop it has only appeared four times in the evolutionary history of animals: On insects, pterosaurs, birds and bats.

  • Counting flying foxes by using drones equipped...
    on April 26, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Scientists from Western Sydney University and the Taronga Conservation Society have published a new method in the journal Remote Sensing In Ecology and Conservation for detecting and counting flying-foxes in tree canopies by using thermal camera-equipped drones.