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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.

  • Researchers discover how 'cryptic' connections in...
    on November 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Diseases have repeatedly spilled over from wildlife to humans, causing local to global epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and Nipah. […]

  • Misunderstood flying fox could prove bat species...
    on November 12, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    A large fruit-eating bat native to Mauritius is the subject of controversy over the announcement of a major cull to protect the Indian island's fruit crops, despite a lack of evidence as to the extent of damage directly attributed to the endangered species. An international team of researchers, including the University of Bristol, that monitored the damage directly caused by the Mauritian flying fox to commercial fruit has found the bat is responsible for only some, and could be managed […]

  • Unique study shows how bats manoeuvre
    on November 8, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    For the first time, researchers have succeeded in directly measuring the aerodynamics of flying animals as they manoeuvre in the air. Previously, the upstroke of the wings was considered relatively insignificant compared to the powerful downstroke but, in a new study, biologists at Lund University in Sweden have observed that it is on the upstroke of the wings that bats often turn. […]

  • Bats versus dolphins – the ultimate battle of...
    on November 8, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Active sensors are incorporated into a number of technologies, such as meteorology devices and self-driving cars, and use the echo from sound, radio or light waves to locate objects. But despite nearly a century of development, these active sensing technologies still fail to replicate the performance of sonars (sound waves) used in the biological world by dolphins and bats for echolocation. […]

  • Drug pollution concentrates in stream bugs,...
    on November 6, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Sixty-nine pharmaceutical compounds have been detected in stream insects, some at concentrations that may threaten animals that feed on them, such as trout and platypus. When these insects emerge as flying adults, they can pass drugs to spiders, birds, bats, and other streamside foragers. These findings by an international team of researchers were published today in Nature Communications. […]