Sac-winged bat

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Sac-winged bats
Emballonura semicaudata, Ovalau Island - Joanne Malotaux (22057146275).jpg
Sac-winged bat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Suborder: Microchiroptera
Superfamily: Emballonuroidea
Family: Emballonuridae
Gervais in de Castelnau, 1855

See Text

The 51 species of sac-winged or sheath-tailed bats constitute the family Emballonuridae, and can be found in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world.[1] Emballonurids include some of the smallest of all bats, and range from 3.5 to 10 cm in body length. They are generally brown or grey, although the ghost bats (genus Diclidurus) are white.

They have short tails, which project through the tail membrane, so that the latter forms a sheath. As their name indicates, most species also possess sac-shaped glands in their wings, which are open to the air and may release pheromones to attract mates. Other species have throat glands which produce strong-smelling secretions.[2] They have the dental formula


These bats prefer to roost in areas generally lighter than other species of bats. Their dwellings can often be found in hollow trees and entryways to caves or other structures. Some, such as the tomb bats, live in large roosts, but others are solitary. Species living away from the tropics may become torpid, or even hibernate in winter.[2]

Sac-winged bats feed mainly on insects, and occasionally on fruit. Most of these bats, such as ghost bats, catch their meals while flying; the proboscis bat, on the other hand, catches its prey above water surfaces.

List of species[edit]

Family Emballonuridae


  1. ^ Simmons, Nancy B. (2005). "Chiroptera". In Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 312–529. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Macdonald, D., ed. (1984). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. p. 804. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.