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How big is Noctilio leporinus?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Hipporex, 12 Jul 2019.

  1. Hipporex

    Hipporex Well-Known Member

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    I'm working on a personal project and I'm currently trying to find out how big is the greater bulldog bat (Noctilio leporinus) in terms of head-body lengtht and wingspan. I've been trying to do this on my own but different sources give vastly different answers.

    Head-body length:
    Wingspan:
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2019
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    The reason there is such a range given in different sources is (partly) because the species has a very wide distribution and the subspecies are extremely variable in size. Those of the Amazon Basin (the type subspecies) are much smaller than in the north or south of the range.

    With regards to the sources above, the last one for wingspan is just copying Wikipedia, and a one metre wingspan is ridiculous anyway so you can ignore that. It would actually be roughly 50-60cm.

    Bats are not usually measured by total wingspan but by forearm length, so when you do see total wingspans given they are usually estimates from the forearm length. In Noctilio leporinus the forearm length in the largest subspecies averages around 8.5cm. The Mammalian Species paper (the first one on your wingspan list) gives measurements from Mexican bats (which are a larger subspecies) which range between 81.2mm and 88.1mm - that's almost a centimetre difference within one population. It also notes that almost 65% of the wing length is made up of the third digit (that's the long finger which forms the outside edge of the wing).

    The Mammalian Species paper also gives total length measurements of four female bats from Dominica at between 119mm to 127mm - that's about 4.7 to 5 inches. (Note that males average larger than females).

    If you want actual specific measurements, I'd suggest searching through papers on Google Scholar which may provide exact measurements - but do remember that they vary in size throughout their range so the measurements from one study area will not represent the species as a whole. But if you just want a general figure then wingspan is about 50-60cm and total-body length is about 10-13cm.
     
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  3. Hipporex

    Hipporex Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much. This information is greatly appreciated.