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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.

  • Bats' brains sync when they socialize
    on June 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    The phrase "we're on the same wavelength" may be more than just a friendly saying: A new study by University of California, Berkeley, researchers shows that bats' brain activity is literally in sync when bats engage in social behaviors like grooming, fighting or sniffing each other. […]

  • How to handle wildlife in your yard
    on June 14, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    I heard a local story of a man who, in his excitement to kill a rattlesnake, used the only thing he had available—his thermos bottle. The next scene in this drama has the man in the hospital receiving anti-venom to treat a snake bite. […]

  • Genetic basis for extended lifespan and cancer...
    on June 12, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Scientists have identified genes that may give long-lived bat species their extraordinary lifespans and cancer resistance compared to other animals. […]

  • Baby pterodactyls could fly from birth
    on June 12, 2019 at 11:03 am

    A breakthrough discovery reveals that pterodactyls, extinct flying reptiles, had a remarkable ability—they could fly from birth. The importance of this discovery is highlighted by the fact that no other living vertebrates today, or those in the history of the fossil record, had this ability. This revelation has a profound impact on our understanding of how pterodactyls lived, which is critical to understanding how the dinosaur world worked as a whole. […]

  • Bats have an ambulance in their ears
    on June 5, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Anybody who has been passed by an ambulance at high speed has experienced a physical effect called the Doppler shift: As the ambulance moves toward the listener, its motion compresses the siren's sound waves and raises the sound pitch. As the ambulance moves away from the listener, the sound waves get dilated and the pitch is lowered. A listener wearing a blindfold could use this Doppler shift pattern to track the motion of the ambulance. […]