Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mauritian Tomb Bat

Taphozous mauritianus
Though named for the island of Mauritius, the Mauritian Tomb Bat is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. They live in open habitats, including dry-scrub areas where there is little moisture, though they prefer areas with more rainfall.

Outside of the mating season, these bats live in small groups that roost together in cavers, tree cavities, and even on buildings. During the breeding season females roost together in larger groups (several dozen), while males are typically alone. They typically mate once per year, though some populations (depending on location) will make twice. The Bats are polygamous, and males take no part in raising their offspring.

Mauritian Tomb Bats can be identified by their completely white undersides and mottled-gray backs. They have long, narrow arms, and their wingspan is close to double their body length (about 21cm as opposed to 10-11cm).

As with other bats, the Mauritian Tomb Bats use echolocation to hunt at night. But did you know they also sometimes hunt during the daytime? And at those hours they hunt by sight? Moths, butterflies, and other winged insects are their prey of choice. These bats also use audible communication with one another. They chip and screech, though the exact purposes for their calls are unknown.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa
Size : Length up to 11cm
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Chiroptera
Family : Emballonuridae -- Genus : Taphozous -- Species : T. mauritianus
Image : Frank Vassen

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