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‘Bats’ is a term referring to the animals belonging to the order Chiroptera. It is the second largest order of living mammals including 18 families, 202 genera and 116 species broadly classified in to two suborders megachiroptera (large fruit eating bats of old world) and microchiroptera (smaller insectivorous bats found worldwide)…
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Download file to see previous pages The little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) is a microchiroptera belonging to family Vespertilionidae and abundantly found in Southern Alaska, Canada and across the Pacific and Atlantic coasts in United States. The major characteristics of bats form the defining features of M. lucifugus along with certain additional unique characteristics. Like all chiropterans M. lucifugus is nocturnal, winged and capable of echolocation. Besides these M. lucifugus are insectivorous feeding on free flying insects as well as those found on water surface, and undergo hibernation.
Despite the wide abundance of bats, they are ill represented in fossil records. The easy degradability of small light skeletons renders preservation difficult and thus early evolutionary records and information on origin of the mammal is lacking. The earliest known record is that of a microchiropteran fossil obtained from early Eocene rocks in Wyoming, and named Icaronycteris. PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS Flight Adaptations: All bats have wings that are distinct from those of insects and birds in that the bone in the wings is formed by elongated fingers with webbings or membranes (15) connecting the digits (1, 2 & 12, 16, 17, 18), extending to the legs and sometimes even to the tail (14), forming the tail membrane (13). The wings originally evolved from highly moveable mammalian forearm and the skeletal structure of wings in present day bats comprises of the humerus, radius (7) and a reduced ulna (3). Besides these the other digits (1, 16, 17, & 18), too contribute to the wing. Only the thumb (2) features a claw like the mammalian ancestors to hold the prey. The membrane forming the wing (9 & 13)) or the patagium is made of skin, cutaneous muscles and connective tissue. It is richly supplied with blood vessels and can be clearly demarcated in to four regions: Plagiopatagium or membrane extending from side of body and hind limb (11) to forearm and fifth digit (16). Propatagium or membrane extending from shoulder to thumb (2). Chiropatagium (9) or the membrane extending between the digits (1, 16, 17 & 18) Uropatagium (13) or the portion of membrane extending between the tail (14) and hind limbs (11). Body Design & Skeletal Adaptations Small size, with thinner and reduced bone sizes along with complete loss of some bone such as fibula; are weight reduction strategies contributing to morphological adaptations for flight. They do retain teeth contributing to skull mass but the neck of bats is reduced in length to compensate for it. To reduce skull weight and compensate ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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