Apr 17

Did you know that April 17th is observed annually as Bat Appreciation Day? Love them or hate them, there are over 1,200 bat species around the world and they play a huge role in the health of our ecosystems. Although scary to some and shrouded in many superstitions, the worlds’ only flying mammals are extremely valuable seed dispensers and pollinators. Without long-nosed bats pollinating the agave plant, tequila would not exist – imagine that! Specialised features such as echolocation and vampire bat saliva are studied regularly by scientists to look for advances in human development.

As a nod to these misunderstood and mysterious creatures, we thought we’d take a look at some of the top bat species on Arkive.

Grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

Recently winning the number 1 spot in our world’s favourite underappreciated species poll, the grey-headed flying fox is one of the largest bats in Australia and has a wingspan exceeding 1.5 metres! This species can be distinguished from other flying foxes – named after their fox-like facial features – as its pelage extends down to its ankles rather than ending at the top of the legs. Feeding mainly on ripe fruit, nectar and pollen, this species is known to travel up to 50 kilometres in pursuit of the best foraging spots.

You looking at me?

Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat (Nyctimene rabori)

The Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat is a very unique species, as it is one of the only striped bat species in the world, and has unusual yellow spots covering its back, ears and wings. Despite its odd colouration and patterning, it is the bizarre tubular nostrils that stick out above the mouth which this species is named after.  The islands on which the Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat lives have been heavily logged, resulting in this species’ population drastically declining.

I’m like, totally camouflaged right now

Banana bat (Musonycteris harrisoni)

The extremely unusual and elongated snout of the banana bat got it a place in our top ten! Endemic to tropical forest habitats in Mexico, this species’ specialised nose and extremely long tongue is perfect for feeding on pollen from long-tubed flowers. The pollen sticks to tiny hairs around the banana bats face and is transferred from flower to flower, making this species one of the most important pollinators within its range.

Check out my snout!

Canut’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus canuti)

Named after the horseshoe-shaped fold of skin that forms part of the nose, Canut’s horseshoe bat is endemic to two small Indonesian islands. Using echolocation to hunt for insects at night, its elaborate noseleaf helps it to focus on ultrasonic pulses while its large ears detect any sounds made by its prey.

I’ll grow into my nose eventually, right?

Common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus)

Portrayed as creepy, blood-sucking killers in many horror movies, the common vampire bat has long had a bad reputation! This species uses heat sensors on its nose to locate veins close to the skin of its prey, before making tiny incisions with its sharp teeth. The common vampire bat has a special enzyme in its saliva which stops blood from clotting, allowing it to acquire a larger meal from its prey. Yum!

I only want a little bite!

Griffin’s leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros griffini)

Only discovered in 2012, Griffin’s leaf-nosed bat has an elaborate noseleaf structure which, unlike other bats who emit calls through their mouths, aids echolocation and helps it to focus calls. Males can be distinguished from females by the presence of a ‘sexual sac’ behind the noseleaf which is enlarged during the breeding season and secretes a waxy substance to attract a partner.

My mom said I’m handsome!

Kitti’s hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai)

Kitti’s hog-nosed bat not only holds the record for the smallest bat in the world, but it is in fact also the smallest mammal in existence weighing in at just under two grams. This teeny tiny size is the reason for its alternative name – the bumblebee bat. Small populations exist in Myanmar and Thailand but are under threat from tourism and habitat destruction.

Stop calling me small – you’re just really big!

Muscat mouse-tailed bat (Rhinopoma muscatellum)

The common name of the Muscat mouse-tailed bat was given due to its long slender tail which can be as long as the head and body combined. The unusual gliding and fluttering flight pattern of this species gives the impression that it is rising and falling, making it look like a small bird when in flight. The Muscat mouse-tailed bat can be found across the southeastern Arabian Peninsula and south-west Asia.

A rodent? Me? Never!

 

Honduran white bat (Ectophylla alba)

The beautiful white pelage of the Honduran white bat and the bright orange areas on its ears, nose and parts of its legs and wings make this species extremely recognisable. The roosting habits of the Honduran white bat are also particularly intriguing – individuals construct an upside down V-shaped ‘tent’ from the leaves of Heliconia plants to protect themselves from adverse weather and predators. Rarely staying in their tent homes for longer than a day at a time, members of this species are the nomads of the bat world!

Hello my pretties!

Fish eating myotis (Myotis vivesi)

With long narrow wings and large, powerful feet, the fish-eating myotis is easily adapted to take fish and small aquatic creatures from near the waters’ surface. Specialised features such as huge hooked claws mean this species is able to catch around 30 fish each night, even eating them whilst in flight!

My, what big claws you have!

Sadly, 25% of all bat species are threatened with extinction due to climate change, habitat loss, hunting and disease. Hopefully this blog hasn’t made you go batty and if you want to learn more about how you can help save these winged wonders take a look at these interesting websites below:

Discover more bat species on Arkive

Leone Elliott – Arkive Intern

May 8

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, May 1, 2015

Bat wings use sensory cells to change shape mid-flight

Bechsteins-bat

Bechstein’s bat

The hair on a bat’s wings has receptors that fire messages to the brain, which allow them to slow down quickly and make tight turns. In most mammals, pathway messages from the forelimbs travel to the neck, in bats however, messages travel to both the neck and the trunk.

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Article originally published on Saturday, May 2, 2015

Malnourished sea lion found hidden under car in San Francisco

Young-California-sea-lion

Young California sea lion

A sea lion pup was coaxed from its hiding spot through the efforts of police and animal rescue crews. Apparently this is the second time that this particular pup has been found wandering the streets. Diminishing food sources, appear to be one of the reasons that several pups have been found malnourished and sick.

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Article originally published on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Starfish suffer mysterious and gruesome demise along west coast

Crown-of-thorns-starfish-

Crown of thorns starfish

From southern Alaska down to Baja California, sea stars have been dying in droves. The cause seems to be a poorly understood wasting disease known as sea star associated densovirus.  Encouraging though, is the news that baby sea stars have been found along the coast in some of the affected areas.

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Article originally published on Monday, May 4, 2015

Wolves and coyotes feel sadness and grieve like humans

Eurasian-wolf-side-view

Eurasian wolf

Author Marc Bekhoff describes how a pack of wolves lost their spirit and playfulness after the loss of one of their female members. He also hypothesizes that similar to dogs, wolves and coyotes can experience physiological disorders.

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Adult-coyote

Adult coyote

Article originally published on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

30 illegal orangutan pets seized in West Kalimantan

juvenile-southern-bornean-orangutan-p-p-wurmbii-

Juvenile southern Bornean orangutan

Thirty orangutans being kept as pets have been seized and placed in a rehabilitation center. Orangutans usually live with their mother until the age of seven or eight. The orangutans are learning to fend for themselves so they can be released into the wild.

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 Article originally published on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New species of diving beetle found living in isolation in Africa

Great-diving-beetle-portrait

Great diving beetle

A scientist has discovered a new species of diving beetle on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. It has no direct relatives and has been placed in its own genus with its scientific name being Capelatus prykei. Its closest relatives are diving beetles found in the Mediterranean and New Guinea.

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Article originally published on Thursday, May 7, 2015

New species of marine worm discovered on the Antarctic Deception Island

Peacock-worm

Peacock worm

The new species (Parougia diapason) belongs to a group of marine worms that commonly occur in marine seabeds rich in organic matter. The species was found in the bones of a common minke whale.

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Dwarf-minke-whale-head-detail

Common minke whale

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

Mar 31

Arkive officially announces the launch of its Atlantic Islands feature series: North Atlantic Islands and South Atlantic Islands! Through generous foundation support, our team has researched the islands of the North and South Atlantic Ocean, pulling together some of the world’s best imagery and informational factfiles to shine a spotlight on the incredible island ecosystems in this part of the world.

Through a two-part blog series beginning today with the  North Atlantic islands page we highlight some of the most stunning species and habitats from Iceland down to the Bahamas and more. 

Ready to be whisked away to island life? Let’s go!

Stunning Anegada Island, British Virgin Islands

The North Atlantic islands are a diverse group with some of them formed through the movement of tectonic plates and others through accumulation of volcanic material. One of the most unique features of any island is its ability to support endemic species. However, these endemic species often face the dual threat of overfishing and tourism, which leads to urbanization and an alteration of the landscape.

Bahamas

Nassau-grouper-portrait

Nassau grouper

The Bahamian islands are extremely low-lying with an average elevation of only 10 metres.  The mottled Nassau grouper resides in shallow waters near reefs and other rocky substrates. This austere species possesses the unique ability to change its colour pattern to resemble its surrounding environment or as a means of communication.

Bermuda

Bermuda-skink-on-rock

Bermuda skink on rock

Bermuda is made up of 7 main islands and over 140 smaller islands, arranged in a crescent-like formation. The diminutive yet robust Bermuda skink inhabits rocky, coastal area and is the only terrestrial vertebrate endemic to Bermuda. Hatchlings are born with sky blue tails that become brown/black with age.

British Virgin Islands

Virgin-Islands-coqui-on-leaf-lateral-view

Virgin Islands coqui on leaf

The position of the British Virgin Islands makes them extremely vulnerable to hurricanes and other weather events. The Virgin Islands coqui is a stunning little frog that strongly prefers living near terrestrial bromeliads. Males serenade females with two tone calls and will only commence their courtship call when the female approaches.

Canary Islands

Canarian-shrew-on-biologists-hand

Canarian shrew

The Canary Islands is made up of seven islands that include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, Hierro. The lilliputian Canarian shrew resides lava fields with little or no vegetation. This seemingly mild-mannered species uses a neurotoxic venom to immobilize its prey such as the Atlantic lizard.

Cape Verde

Loggerhead-turtle-swimming

Loggerhead turtle swimming

The natural habitats in Cape Verde range from being desert-like and flat to luscious high-elevation forests. The endangered loggerhead turtle prefers coastal water, but may be found in the open ocean as well. These turtles have extremely powerful jaws that can crack the shells of even the queen conch and giant clam.

Cayman Islands

Buffy-flower-bat-hanging-from-ceiling

Buffy flower bat hanging from ceiling

Of the 26 reptiles and amphibian species, 75 percent are endemic and 30 of the 48 freshwater mollusc species are found nowhere else in the world. The enigmatic buffy flower bat has a diet, which consists largely of pollen, but may include nectar and fruit. This sleepyhead is believed to leave its daytime roost later than other bat species.

Cuba

Male-bee-hummingbird-in-breeding-plumage

Male bee hummingbird in breeding plumage

Wetlands are found on around 4 percent of Cuba’s surface providing a habitat for numerous resident marine organisms and many migratory birds. The micro-sized bee hummingbird holds the honor of being the smallest living bird in the world! It can beat its wings 80 times per second and consumes up to 8 times its body mass in water each day.

Iceland

arctic-fox-portrait-winter-coat

Arctic fox, winter coat

Around 11 percent of Iceland is covered by glaciers and 6 percent by rivers and lakes. The pristine Arctic fox is a sturdy critter that can withstand subzero temperatures. It has a short nose to reduce heat loss and increased blood flow to the feet pads to prevent freezing.

Jamaica

Captive-Jamaican-hutia

Jamaican hutia

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and is located to the south of Cuba. The Jamaican hutia can be found in mountainous areas of karst formation where extensive networks of tunnels and crevices offer it protection. Hutias give birth to well-developed young that can eat solid foods and move around just 30 hours after its birth.

Madeira

Madeira-pipistrelle-head-detail

Madeira pipistrelle

The word madeira is Portuguese for ‘wood’, referring to the extensive laurel forest that once covered the island. The Madeira pipistrelle is an early riser and among one of the first bats to emerge from its roost in the evening. It uses echolocation to detect its prey and emits calls at a frequency of around 45-47 kHz.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Caicos-Islands-dwarf-boa-subspecies-greenwayi

Caicos Islands dwarf boa

There are 35 protected areas in the Turks and Caicos Islands that include national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and areas of historic interest. The miniature Caicos Islands dwarf boa lives up to its name and averages around 38 cm in length! When threatened it coils itself into a tight ball, hides its head, smears a foul-smelling fluid on its coils and exposes its bright yellow tail.

Now that you know a bit more about the islands, species, and ecosystems of the North Atlantic, ever wonder which island would best match your personality and interest? We wondered that too so we came up with a nifty little quiz that compares your personal interests and personality to unique characteristics of the islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

Would you thrive living alongside the puffins of Iceland? Or maybe you prefer to scour the warm, sandy shores of Jamaica? 

Islands quiz button copy

And stay tuned for the second half of this series where we introduce you to the marvelous flora and fauna of the South Atlantic Islands.

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

Mar 20

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Mar 13, 2015

New wormy amphibians discovered in Southeast Asia

Sagalla-caecilian-head-detail

Sagalla caecilian head detail

Three new caecilian species have been discovered in Vietnam and Cambodia. Southeast Asia currently hosts about 15% of all known caecilians.

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Article originally published on Saturday, Mar 14, 2015

Wildlife: Sandhill cranes migrating through Colorado

Greater-sandhill-crane-ssp-tabida-calling-in-flight

Sandhill crane calling in flight

As they make their way toward Canada about 25,000 sandhill cranes might pass through Colorado.  Cranes are among the oldest living species with fossil records going back 9 million years.

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Article originally published on Sunday, Mar 15, 2015

 Rehabbed bay area bobcat released back into the wild

Three-week-old-bobcat-kitten-vocalising

Three week old bobcat kitten vocalizing

Last fall a 3 pound juvenile bobcat was found seriously injured near Brentwood by a rancher. Last week the bobcat was released after being rehabilitated and her weight doubled to a healthy 6 pounds.

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Article originally published on Monday, Mar 16, 2015

 Switch off the lights for bats

Leislers-bat

Leisler’s bat

Bat activity is generally lower in street-lit areas as opposed to dark ones, a new study found. This overturns a previous assumption that street lights benefit bats because insects congregate around them.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015

 ‘Basically they just fell out of the sky’: 2,000 snow geese found dead in Idaho

Snow-goose-on-tundra-with-chicks-

Snow goose on tundra with chicks

Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game announced on Monday that 2,000 snow geese were found dead and they suspect that avian cholera might be the cause. Officials disposed of the bodies to ensure that the disease does not spread to other bird species.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015

 Hear that? Orangutans use hands to amplify calls

juvenile-southern-bornean-orangutan-p-p-wurmbii-

Juvenile southern Bornean orangutan

When orangutans use alert calls to warn others about predators, they sometimes cup their hands around their muzzles to make their calls louder and deeper. Changing sounds by using a part of your body was formerly thought to be a behavior unique to humans.

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Article originally published on Thursday, Mar 19, 2015

Dottyback’s deadly colour trick revealed

Narrow-bordered-Bee-Hawk-moth-

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth

The dusky dottyback can change the color of its body to match the species of reef fish it is hunting. The art of mimicry is well known in the natural world with species using ruses to catch, mate or avoid others such as the narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth that resembles a bee.

View original article

Female-common-carder-bumblebee-feeding-from-flower

Female common carder bumblebee feeding from flower

 

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 


Mar 6

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Feb 27, 2015

Salish Sea seagull populations halved since 1980s

Glaucous-winged-gull-in-flight-ventral-view

Glaucous winged gull in flight

Researchers believe that the decline in the number of glacous winged gulls reflects changes in the availability of marine food. Considering that gulls are the ultimate diet generalist, their decline suggests some profound changes to local marine ecosystems.

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Article originally published on Saturday, Feb 28, 2015

European beavers pair up for life and never cheat

Juvenile-Eurasian-beaver-feeding

Juvenile Eurasian beaver feeding

Less than 5 percent of animals are believed to pair together for life, yet not without instances of cheating. One of the exceptions appears to be the Eurasian beaver who is completely faithful to its partner for its entire life.  Conversely, the American beaver is known to mate with others besides their partner.

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Young-American-beaver-feeding-on-leaves

Young American beaver feeding on leaves

 Article originally published on Sunday, Mar 1, 2015

Hoary bat may become Hawaii’s state mammal

Hoary-bat-roosting

Hoary bat roosting

A bill has been introduced to designate the endangered hoary bat as the state’s official land mammal. They are solitary creatures that have a wingspan of only 12 inches.

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 Article originally published on Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Incredibly rare bird sighted

Aldabra-rail

Aldabra rail

The critically endangered Zapata rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai) was finally seen for the first time in almost four decades. Fewer than 400 Zapata rails are estimated to exist. They belong to the genus Rallidae which includes the Aldabra rail.

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 Article originally published on Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Peacocks’ tails make noises too low for humans to hear

Male-Indian-peafowl-displaying

Male Indian peafowl displaying

Peacocks make ‘infrasound’ noises with their tails that are about as loud as a car going by a few meters away. Researchers hypothesize that in males the sound could be used to attract females or ward away other males.

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 Article originally published on Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015

Last ditch: Mexico finally gets serious about saving the vaquita

Vaquita-calf-at-the-surface

Vaquita calf at the surface

There are reportedly less than 100 vaquita on the planet. The Mexican government announced that it would ban gillnet fishing in the vaquita’s habitat for two years and fisherman would be compensated for their lost income.

View original article

Article originally published on Thursday, Mar 5, 2015

WCS re-discovers ‘extinct’ bird in Myanmar

Dorsal-view-of-Jerdons-babbler-

Jerdon’s babbler

Jerdon’s babbler had not been seen in Myanmar since July 1941. At the beginning of the 20th century, the species was common in the vast natural grassland that once covered the Ayeyarwady and Sittaung flood plains around Yangon.

View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 


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