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The Amazing Phyllostomidae

Added: Sunday, September 6th 2009 at 7:34am by Margar3t

There are 28 different species of bats in Arizona. Most of our bat species are insectivores (insect eaters) but two of bat species are nectarivores (flower nectar drinkers) Nectarivorous bats can be identified from by their larger eyes, smaller ears, and long tongues.

Late in the summer and early in the fall in southeastern Arizona hummingbird feeders may be visited during the night by nectar-drinking bats that cross over into the U.S. from Mexico Some time in October or so, the bats will migrate south for the winter, where they have their main population centers.

They feed on blooming and fruiting plants such as agave and saguaro cactus. Nectar feeding bats are excellent long-distance fliers who migrate long distances to follow the blooming seasons of their favored plants like the agave plant and the saguaro cactus which depend upon bats for pollination.

Leaf-Nosed Bat Family Phyllostomidae
The lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican long-tongued bat are found in Arizona. Leaf nose is a fleshy protuberance on top of the nose. Both of these bats look quite similar. Both are listed as federally endangered species.

Mexican long-tongued bat Phyllostomidae (Choeronycteris mexicana) is a medium sized bat with a long thin snout and a nose leaf. It has a long tongue that extends to 1/3 of its body length. Its color is gray to brown above and lighter below. Other characteristics include big eyes and a minute tail. Total length 3.5 inches
Lesser long-nosed bat Phyllostomidae (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae)  have shorter, broader snouts with leaf nose and range in color from yellow-brown or cinnamon gray. Total head and body measurement of approximately 3 inches. The tongue measures approximately the same length as the body. They are also are tailless. Their wingspan is about 10 inches

I think the majority if not all of the ones at our feeder were Lesser Long-nosed Bats but I am in no way a bat expert. By the photos I found the lesser long-nosed are cuter then the Mexican long-tongued bats. If you know anything about bats, please let me know what kind these are.

Bats fly up to the feeders and stick in their long tongues to capture some sugar water and then fly off, then circle around the feeder waiting for another turn. You can see the tiny drops of sugar water trailing from this bat's tongue.

Speaking of tongues... :)

Amazing creatures, these bats.

They are much more graceful looking than you would think.



Edit: Additional link on the length of a bats tongue

Edit: More wonderful links

Slow motion movie of a bat hovering at a feeder

Shows bats flying, landing, drinking from a feeder and walking in super so motion.


User Comments

Can I start to cal you batwoman HEHE

LOL too funny. Thanks for making me laugh and for stopping in and commenting. Have an excellent day!

These are amazing pictures and very interesting!!  Bats get a bad rap because they are so hideous looking and associated with blood suckers (vampires).  I am happy to hear they like nectar and insects.  :)

Thank you so much. I am so glad you enjoyed them. It is quite fun to watch the bats out the window. I agree bats do get a bad rap Insectivorous bats can eat half their weight in insects every night! And nectarivorous bats are great pollinators. In reading I found there are 44 species of bats in the United States only 3 of which are  blood-eating bats. Thanks so much for stopping in and for your comment. Have a great day.

Wow. What amazing photos! My girls are both in love with Stella Luna. I'm gonna have to show them these pictures. :)

So glad you enjoyed the photos. I was amazed watching the bats drink from the feeder. They only stay for a second, they are very fast. I hope your girls enjoy them too. Thanks so much for stopping in and for your very nice comment. Have a good day.

Great photos, but they so give me the creeps. I hate bats...

LOL, sorry you hate bats. Thanks so much for the nice complement. I was just amazed to see them feeding off my hummingbird feeders. Very cool. Thanks so much for stopping in and for your comment. Have a wonderful bat free day.

Great photos.  I don't think I've ever seen the bones in the bat before, it's just amazing.

Thank you so much, I am so glad you enjoyed them. It is amazing how quick they are. Freezing them in time with the camera gave me the chance to really see them. They are just fascinating to look at. I like their little toes and how their feet are put on backward.:) Thanks so much for your visit and comment. Have a great day.

Calendar photos!!

LOL, you like? Which one is your favorite? I just can't decide. Thanks so much for your visit and wonderful comment. Have a great day.

They're all great, but I think for purposes of the calendar the first one would be best. Or maybe the second. Easy to identify without much thought, which sadly, is probably going to be one of the criteria.

Thanks Trace, I had thought of the one with two bats since it is more horizontal but it is the backside. The first photo is easy to know what it is... bat on hummingbird feeder. Thanks so much for your suggestions

very, very cool! Great shots! I couldn't decide which one I liked best, they are all great action shots. Thanks for posting!

Thank you so much, the bats are fun to watch but they are really fast only at the feeder for a second. I can't decide which one I like either. I do like the one with two bats since it is the only photo I got of two on the feeder at the same time. Thanks so much for your comment and visit. Have a great day.

Wow! These photos are amazing!

Thanks, I am glad I figured out a way to take the photos through the window. I had no idea bats looked as graceful as they do. Amazing how cool something can look in a photo, something our eyes don't or can't focus on. Thank you for stopping in to check them out and for taking time to comment. Have a great day.

amazing photos, didnt realise we take them at such high frame rates

Thanks very much, so glad you enjoyed them. Not sure about the high frame rates thing.... Bats are fast, they are only at the feeder for a second since they can not hover like hummingbirds. I got lots of empty hummingbird photos between photos with bats.:) Thanks for your comment and visit. Have a great day.

you may gets lots of empty ones, but you also got them with their tounges out and that is really cool. Personally, I think they all could be in a book on Bats, they are all that good.

Thanks so much Charlie. It would be cool to do a book... "In My Yard" with photos of stuff I see here in the yard, then maybe a second On Our Walks or Out and About, with stuff I see near here but not in the yard. I have no idea how to sell it though.:) The calender Trace was talking about is the AZ game and fish calender, I sent in 3 photos this year. They pick 12 out of the thousands of entries to appear in the calender. I think the results come out in October. It is my first attempt besides the blog to do anything with my photos. I plan to keep entering each year until they finally give up and give me a page.:) Thanks for your wonderful complement on the bat photos. It was fun taking them and finally being able to see the bats up close.

and you should! You have an eye that see's what the camera see's. Most people don't.

What a wonderful complement, thank you!

What type of camera are you using?  These are AMAZING!!!

Thanks so much. I was using my little canon 990 elph. I put the lens on the glass so the flash would not reflect but shine through the window. The feeder is about 2 feet outside the window and I was inside the house. When the bats were abundant it was easier to get one in the frame. They are really fast, only spend a second or so at the feeder. I will have to admit I do have several shots of an empty feeder... :) Thanks so much for your comment. I posted a movie of them if you want to see how quick they are http://www.blogster.com/margar3t/little-movie-of-bats-from-oct-8 So glad you enjoyed the photos. I hope to get more next year when the bats come back. Thanks for your comment and visit . Have a great day

GREAT shots Marg!! WOW! I was so busy looking at your photos, I now have to go back and read your post. LOL!

LOL, it was very cool watching them and trying to snap a photo when one was on the feeder. Bats are a lot faster than I had ever thought they were. So happy to share them with you. Thanks for the visit and the wonderful comment. Have a great day.

I think I'd be crazy trying to catch them with a camera, so you did really well!

Those are some good shots indeed!  I love bats...  with ketchup and mustard.  {#basic-foot-in-mouth.gif}

Thanks you very much. So glad you enjoyed the bats, you have to be really fast to catch one and slather it with mustard, they are amazingly fast little creatures. LOL Thanks for your visit and funny comment. Have a great day.


Thanks, glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for your visit and taking time to comment. Have a good day.

Those are awesome and need to be sent to some science magazine. Never have I seen them that close, wow

Thanks, so glad you enjoyed them. The feeder is just outside the window. Very nice viewing for hummingbirds and bats as well. I uploaded them to our local game and fish, share a photo site. Not sure what science magazine would be interested in seeing them. I will have to go looking for places.:) Doing my research on bats, photographing bats, I found some awesome bat photos using the phototrap method.
also here this guy has some increadible shots

Very cool! Thanks so much for your visit and wonderful complement on the bat photos. Have a great day.

Truly fantastic!

Thank you so much. I am lucky to live in an area that has so much interesting wildlife. I had heard of bats at feeders but this is the first year I have ever seen them. I am so glad I have that feeder right outside the window. It is great to watch them flash by for a sip of sugar water. I refilled the feeders last evening and the bats were back. They are amazing to watch, so fast. Thanks for your wonderful complement and for stopping in. Have a great day.

these bats are amazing

Thanks so much Wallace, so glad you enjoyed the post. have a great night and thank for stopping in and for your wonderful comment.

Wow! That is wicked. They are odd looking but cute too, This was very educational for me I didnt even know these kinds of bats existed until, like now.

:-) Thanks for sharing this!

So glad you enjoyed it. We had a blast watching the little guys come up to the feeder each night, it was just amazing. I have some more bat post on here some where. US fish and wildlife came out to study them one night. The bats are gone for this year but if we are lucky now that they have found our feeders they will be back next summer.

More coyotes here if your intereted. http://www.blogster.com/margar3t/coyote and here http://www.blogster.com/margar3t/winter-coat the second one is just beautiful, do wish I would have gotten a closer shot. Thanks for your visit and wonderful comment. Have a great night

I did enjoy it very much so, I bet you did I know I would have. I would have had so much fun I would have forgotten to take the photos! :P You actually have photos of coyotes, ok I change my mind from interesting to you lead an exciting life. Apparently you do not need zoo's where you live lol. Thanks for sharing all this with us!

They are just amazing to watch.. one of my posts has a little movie of them if you are interested http://www.blogster.com/margar3t/little-movie-of-bats-from-oct-8 they are quick but they are just so amazing to watch. So glad you enjoyed the posts. I enjoyed your comments immensely.

Just found your photos Margaret.

Asbsolutely stunning.  Thanks for posting them for us to enjoy.

Thank you what a wonderful complement. I have a lot of photos on here. I just love to share them. It is always so nice when someone enjoys them. It just makes my day.

Wow! Judging by your knowledge of bat you probably have figured out I was really just winging it. Great pictures. I wonder how many hummingbird feeders get raided by bats around here and know one ever knows?

They are really interesting creatures. I knew next to nothing about them before I found them on my feeders. The migrate up from Mexico this time of year. They don't go too far north. I think there is also some nectar bats in Texas. Glad you enjoyed the photos, I have a great time taking them and watching the bats.

Wow  very cool pictures !   Love it 

Thanks so much. I have a great time watching them and taking their photos.

I can imagine.   I have watched them at the cabin.. but not here in the city.  Thank you for sharing 

You are welcome. We are not seeing as many this year as I did last year at this time. Last year was a big year for nectar bats at hummingbird feeders here.

{#wow_bounce.gif}when i saw your recent post about hummers pics you mentioned bats, my hat is off to you for your wonderful photographs!! Thank you for sharing them! 

Thank you! So glad you enjoyed them.

THIS IS THE COOLEST!  Awesome photos!

Thanks! So glad you enjoyed them.

So, i don't know how i've not gotten over here before now, but now i'm here. lol Beautiful captures. i once spent a day underneath my hummingbird feeder trying to get hummingbird shots. i think i got one. The feeder was well documented, in the meantime. i've since had a computer die, so the result of all that effort is now simply a memory.

Anacoana's science magazine suggestion is a really good thought, and i kinda like the calendar idea. Since there aren't enough of these that you like, what if you interspersed 6 bat photos with 6 hummingbird photos?

Thanks, so glad you enjoyed them. It is amost time for their return. They usually show up the end of July begining of August. I hope to get more photos with my new camera. I will post them on my blog. Great idea on the half hummers half bats. Thank you. You can see more of my bat photos on my wordpress blog here http://mostlyphotos.wordpress.com/category/animals/bat/

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