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  Yellow-winged Bat - Lavia frons
Posted by: Taipan - 08-17-2019, 02:05 PM - Forum: New Animal Profiles - No Replies

Yellow-winged Bat - Lavia frons

[Image: 434px-Yellow-Winged_Bat.jpeg]

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Megadermatidae
Genus: Lavia Gray, 1838
Species: Lavia frons (É. Geoffroy, 1810)

The yellow-winged bat (Lavia frons) is one of five species of false vampire bat (family Megadermatidae) from Africa.

The yellow-winged bat has a total length of 58–80 mm and a body weight of 28-36 g. Females tend to be slightly larger than males. The wingspan averages 36 cm. This specie's pelage is made of long hairs that are typically pearl grey or slaty gray. Males may have greenish-yellow fur on the hindparts and on the ventral surfaces. As their name suggests, the bat has wings that are reddish-yellow which is also the color of their other membranes as well as their noseleaf and ears. The membranes are largely hairless although there is some fur on the upper arms. The ears are fairly long and have a spiky tragus.[3] They have an elongated noseleaf with a blunt but pointed tip. Although the yellow-winged bat has an advanced interfemoral membrane, they lacks an external tail. The dental formula is
. Glands exist on the lower back of males and discharge a yellow substance. Females have false nipples near the anus and are used by the young to hold on to.

[Image: Yellow-winged_Bat_area.png]

The yellow-winged bat has an extensive range throughout sub-Saharan Africa south to northern Zambia. The bat mostly lives in woodland and savannah habitats and in elevations of less than 2,000 m. They prefer acacia trees and thorn bushes near bodies of water, around which they fly. They prefer to live in areas where the vegetation is well spaced, which allows them to view more of their surroundings. The yellow-winged bat primarily roosts in small trees and shrubs. They can also be found roosting in trees cavities and buildings. They will roost in two separate trees; a primary and a peripheral tree. Bats use their primary roost in the morning and again before evening. Bats travel between primary and peripheral roost trees, especially on hot days, as they may need shade. These flights are typically short but longer flights have been recorded in midday.

Unlike other false vampire bats, the yellow-winged bat feeds only on insects and not small vertebrates. They will feed on both soft- and hard-bodied insects. Bats may feed on termites, scarab beetles, orthopterans, lepidopterans and dipterans. The size of prey ranges from "very small to relatively large". The yellow-winged bat is a sit-and-wait predator. They perch and listen for prey and if it flies by, the bat launches their attack. This species, while potentially vulnerable to predation, is very alert. Mambas, bat hawks, night tree vipers and common kestrels may prey on this species.

Behavior and life history
The yellow-winged bat is a monogamous species. Males and females form pairs during the breeding season and establish their own foraging territories. They are no more than 1m apart when roosting together. One member is vigilant during the day, and is able to turn its head 225° and move its ears. Between the foraging periods in the morning and evening, the male visits the peripheral roost, protecting it from potential intruders. In the morning, the pairs interact with each other before splitting up for the day. The male and female meet again at the primary roost tree before evening to interact. The maximum amount of male-female social interaction occurs between May and early June. This is when insects are more numerous and the young are able to hone their hunting skills. The exact time at which the yellow-winged bat gives birth can vary by region; parturition occurs at the close of the dry season in October in Zambia, while at Lake Baringo in Kenya, it occurs the start of the so-called "long rains" in April. Females are pregnant for around 3 months with only one young being born. During the first few weeks, young hang on to their mothers. Soon, the young stay at the roost for around a week and develop self-sustained flight. Young are weaned when they are around 55 days old.

Calls produced by this species include search-phase echolocation calls and some social calls that can be heard by humans. Echolocation helps give the bat information on close objects. Social calls are associated with aggression, copulation or mother-offspring interactions.

Little is known about human impacts on the population of the yellow-winged bat and the population dynamics of the species have not been recorded. It does not appear to be particularly threatened but is likely not very common.

Tiny GPS backpacks uncover the secret life of desert bats

Date: August 16, 2019
Source: University of Helsinki

A new study from the University of Helsinki using miniaturized satellite-based tags revealed that during drier periods desert bats must fly further and longer to fulfil their nightly needs. According to researchers this signals their struggle in facing dry periods.

Wildlife tracking has revolutionized the study of animal movement and their behavior. Yet, tracking small, flying animals such as desert bats remained challenging. Now a new generation of miniaturized satellite-based tags is allowing unique insights into the life of these mysterious mammals.

Researchers used 1 g GPS devices to reconstruct the movements of yellow-winged bats, one of two false vampire bats occurring in Africa and one of the few desert bats large enough to carrying this innovative technology. "GPS tags have seen up to now a limited use with insectivorous bats due to weight constraints and low success in data collection -- we achieved great results in tracking such a light species," says Irene Conenna, a PhD candidate at the University of Helsinki and the lead author of the study.

Future under the changing climate?

"Bats are some of the most successful desert mammals. Powered flight allows them to efficiently track scarce resources and their nocturnal lifestyle buffers them from the baking sun. However, they still struggle to find enough resources during the drier periods of the year," says Ricardo Rocha, one of the co-authors of the paper.

The study was conducted in Sibiloi National Park, Northern Kenya, along the shores of Lake Turkana, the world's largest desert lake. Researchers placed GPS loggers in 29 bats, 15 in the rainy season and 14 in the dry and, for one week. Their whereabouts were recorded every 30 to 60 minutes every night. This revealed that during dry periods bats used larger home ranges and had extended activity periods, potentially to compensate for a shortage in food resources.

Bats comprise roughly one fifth of all mammal species and deserts are home to over 150 bat species. They display wide variation in morphology, foraging behavior, and habitat use, making them an excellent indicator group for assessing how species respond to changes in their habitats. "The responses exhibited by bats offer important insights into the responses of other taxonomic groups," explains Conenna. "These new miniaturized satellite-based tags now allow us to better understand how increased aridity affects bats foraging efficiency, leading us one step forward to understanding limits in aridity tolerance and impacts of climate change," adds Conenna.

Deserts around the world are getting warmer and as they warm desert creatures need to cope with even harsher conditions. "Understanding how animals cope with seasonal changes is key to understand how they might react to the challenges in the horizon. New technological devices, such as miniaturized satellite-based loggers, go a long way to help us in this task.," adds Mar Cabeza, senior author of the study, University of Helsinki.

Story Source: University of Helsinki. "Tiny GPS backpacks uncover the secret life of desert bats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190816101004.htm (accessed August 16, 2019).

Journal Reference:
Irene Conenna, Adrià López-Baucells, Ricardo Rocha, Simon Ripperger, Mar Cabeza. Movement seasonality in a desert-dwelling bat revealed by miniature GPS loggers. Movement Ecology, 2019; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s40462-019-0170-8


Bats are among the most successful desert mammals. Yet, our understanding of their spatio-temporal dynamics in habitat use associated with the seasonal oscillation of resources is still limited. In this study, we have employed state-of-the-art lightweight GPS loggers to track the yellow-winged bat Lavia frons in a desert in northern Kenya to investigate how seasonality in a desert affects the a) spatial and b) temporal dimensions of movements in a low-mobility bat.
Bats were tracked during April–May 2017 (rainy season) and January–February 2018 (dry season) using 1-g GPS loggers. Spatial and temporal dimensions of movements were quantified, respectively, as the home range and nightly activity patterns. We tested for differences between seasons to assess responses to seasonal drought. In addition, we quantified home range overlap between neighbouring individuals to investigate whether tracking data will be in accordance with previous reports on territoriality and social monogamy in L. frons.
We obtained data for 22 bats, 13 during the rainy and 9 during the dry season. Home ranges averaged 5.46 ± 11.04 ha and bats travelled a minimum distance of 99.69 ± 123.42 m/hour. During the dry season, home ranges were larger than in the rainy season, and bats exhibited high activity during most of the night. No apparent association with free water was identified during the dry season. The observed spatial organisation of home ranges supports previous observations that L. frons partitions the space into territories throughout the year.
Our results suggest that, in low-mobility bats, a potential way to cope with seasonally harsh conditions and resource scarcity in deserts is to cover larger areas and increase time active, suggesting lower cost-efficiency of the foraging activity. Climate change may pose additional pressures on L. frons and other low-mobility species by further reducing food abundances.


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