Velvety free-tailed bat

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Velvety free-tailed bat
Molossus molossus molossus 1847.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Molossidae
Genus: Molossus
M. molossus
Binomial name
Molossus molossus
(Pallas, 1766)
Molossus molossus map.png
Velvety free-tailed bat range

The velvety free-tailed bat or Pallas's mastiff bat[2] (Molossus molossus), is a bat species in the family Molossidae.


M. molossus is a medium-sized bat, with a length of 4" and with a wingspan of 11-13". This species is brown in color, however, when seen flying around at dusk, it will appear to be black. The tail of M. molossus is long and extends beyond the tail membrane. Its ears are large and round.


M. molossus forages in open areas, above tree canopies, around forest edges, and around streams and ponds. Its diet includes moths, beetles, and flying ants. It is commonly seen at dusk, where it will fly solo, catching insects in the air.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It occurs in the Americas from Argentina north to Cuba and Mexico and also the Florida Keys in the United States.[1] It is very common in the Caribbean.

A M. molossus was observed being killed by a giant centipede (Scolopendra viridicornis) in the Amazon. The lone bat had been roosting inside a man-made wooden structure in Cristalino State Park before the centipede grabbed it with its legs and injected venom into its neck. This observation is notable due to the rarity of centipede predation on bats.[3]


  1. ^ a b Barquez, R.; Rodriguez, B.; Miller, B. & Diaz, M. (2008). "Molossus molossus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Velvety free-tailed bat". Florida Bat Center. 2005.
  3. ^ Noronha, Janaina da Costa de; et al. (2015). "Predation of bat (Molossus molossus: Molossidae) by the centipede Scolopendra viridicornis (Scolopendridae) in Southern Amazonia". Acta Amazonica. 45 (3): 333–6. The purpose of this study was to report the third record of bat predation by centipedes worldwide, the first record in the Amazon region.
  • Stokes Beginner's Guide to Bats by Kim Williams, Rob Mies Donald and Lillian Stokes