(É. Geoffroy, 1810)
|Yellow-winged bat range|
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 species 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 its name suggests, the bat has wings that are reddish-yellow which is also the color of its other membranes as well as its 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. It has an elongated noseleaf with a blunt but pointed tip. Although the yellow-winged bat has an advanced interfemoral membrane, it lacks an external tail. The dental formula is 0.2.1.1. 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.
The yellow-winged bat has an extensive range throughout the middle of Africa. It is found in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. The bat mostly lives in woodland and savannah habitats and in elevations of less than 2,000 m. It prefers acacia trees and thorn bushes near bodies of water, which it flies around. It prefers to live in areas where the vegetation is well spaced, which allows it to view more of its surroundings. The yellow-winged bat primarily roosts in small trees and shrubs. It can also be found roosting in trees cavities and buildings. It will roost in two separate trees; a primary and 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. It 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 its attack. This species, while potentially vulnerable to predation, the bat 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 1 m apart when roosting together. One member is vigilant during the day and can turn head 225° and move its ears. Between the foraging periods in the morning and evening, the male visits the peripheral roost and 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 the when raining and insects are more numerous and the young hone their hunting skills. The exact time in 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 threaten but is likely not very common.
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