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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.

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    on January 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    While the weather outside may indeed get frightful this winter, a parka, knit hat, wool socks, insulated boots and maybe a roaring fire make things bearable for people who live in cold climates. But what about all the wildlife out there? Won't they be freezing? […]

  • Wasps, cockroaches and crickets are pollinators...
    on January 17, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Wasps, cockroaches and crickets are widely disliked, but for a certain species of plant on the Japanese island of Yakushima they play a vital role. While studying the non-photosynthetic Mitrastemon yamamotoi plant, Associate Professor Kenji Suetsugu revealed that these insects were responsible for its pollination. Suetsugu is a member of the Kobe University Graduate School of Science, and these findings were published in the January 2019 edition of Plant Biology. […]

  • Human hazards hamper vampire bat venom research
    on January 15, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Vampire bats could hold the key to new treatments for a range of serious medical problems, but researchers have hit a snag accessing the specimens needed to advance their work. […]

  • Researchers discover new bat-borne virus related...
    on January 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Researchers from Singapore's Duke-NUS Medical School, in collaboration with scientists in China, have identified and characterised a new genus of filovirus from a Rousettus bat in China. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Microbiology. […]

  • More young and other traits help mammals adapt to...
    on December 21, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Species of mammals that live in urban environments produce more young compared to other mammals. But along with this advantage, mammals have other strategies to successfully inhabit cities. This is what Radboud University ecologist Luca Santini and colleagues found in a study that they will publish in Ecology Letters on 21 December. "This is the first step of many to understand why certain mammals manage to live in cities and why other species don't." […]