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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 study reveals secrets of the social brain
    on October 21, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Whether chatting with friends at a dinner party or managing a high-stakes meeting at work, communicating with others in a group requires a complex set of mental tasks. Our brains must track who is speaking and what is being said, as well as what our relationship to that person may be—because, after all, we probably give the opinion of our best friend more weight than that of a complete stranger.

  • Thinking collectively to understand the social...
    on October 21, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    What if, in order to understand the social intelligence of animals, including humans, we had to study the brain at the group level and not only at rather than the individual level? This is a perspective put forward by Julia Sliwa, a CNRS researcher at the Paris Brain Institute, in the journal Science.

  • New study reveals the evolutionary reason why...
    on October 7, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    A scientific explanation for those battles over the air conditioning remote control: Researchers at Tel Aviv University's School of Zoology offer a new, evolutionary explanation for the familiar scenario in which women bring a sweater into work, while their male counterparts feel comfortable wearing short sleeves in an air-conditioned office. The researchers concluded that this phenomenon is not unique to humans, with many male species of endotherms (birds and mammals) preferring a cooler […]

  • How plants ensure that their kids make it far in...
    on October 6, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    If you're going apple picking this fall, you may find yourself being drawn to the biggest, brightest, and most aromatic apples you can find. Apple trees and other fruit-bearing plants have evolved to produce such appetizing fruit for a reason: to entice people and wild animals to eat their fruit and disperse their seeds.

  • Bat souvenir trade and risks to public health
    on October 5, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Little is known about the global bat souvenir trade, its extent and impact on bat populations and forest ecosystems, and the potential risks posed to public health with bats known carriers of zoonotic diseases.