2 Birds Can Be Classified As The Only Animals With What Are Megabats and Microbats?

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What Are Megabats and Microbats?

Bats are one of the most fascinating creatures on Earth! Not only are they the only mammal capable of true flight, they are valuable components of our ecosystem and surrounding environment. There are more than 100,000 species of bats worldwide. Although there are thousands of species, each of them can be placed into one of two categories; Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera. Keep reading to learn the difference between mega and microbats, as well as some interesting facts and characteristics about each.

Microchiroptera

Microbats, or Microchiroptera, are also colloquially referred to by several other names; including echolocating bats, small bats, insectivorous bats and true bats. They are most famous for their use of echolocation. Echolocation, also called bio sonar, is a sonar-like method used to map a web of bat surroundings. Although bats are not blind, as most myths suggest, they do require the use of such methods to find food and hunt their prey. It works by emitting small beeps or calls into the surrounding environment and listening for the echo bounced off objects around them. Various animals in the animal kingdom use bio-sonar; such as dolphins, whales, seeps and some types of caves.

Microbes are tiny, some as small as 2 grams! They have big ears but very small eyes. They generally eat insects; however, the larger species of Microchiroptera actually hunt small prey such as frogs, lizards, rodents, and even birds or fish. Vampire bats are a species of Microbat that drink the blood of their prey. Common species of Microchiroptera include spotted bats, wasp bats, inland forest bats, leaf-nosed bats, northern free-tailed bats, horseshoe bats, and spear-nosed bats.

Megachiroptera

Megachiropterans, or megabats, are much larger than microbats. They can weigh up to 4 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 5 or 6 feet! They have very large eyes and a much wider wingspan. They are generally found in tropical climates, where the weather is warm and humid. Unlike microbats, Megachiroptera do not use bio-sonar to locate and hunt for food. Instead, they use their keen vision and sense of smell to find their favorite foods; such as pollen, nectar, plants and ripe fruit. This is fair; megabats do not eat insects or small prey like their cousins, the microbats. In fact, megabats are often called “fruit bats” or “old world fruit bats.”

Their eating habits actually contribute to the dispersal of flower pollen and fruit seeds. This relationship is a mutualistic form called chiropterophily, and describes how bats and plants help each other. Common Megabat species include all flying foxes, hammerhead bats, long-tongued nectar bats, Egyptian fruit bats, and snub-nosed bats.

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