Centurio senex is a neotropical species found in various Central and South American countries, dependent on the season. These countries include Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and the republics of Trinidad and Tobago (Snow et al., 1980).
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
These bats are very peculiar looking, mostly because of the complex folds and flaps of skin around their faces. Folds of naked skin surrounding the nose and mouth of the broad, flat face give the bats a "wrinkled" appearance. Males have additional skin folds on the face which contain scent glands. Wrinkle-faced bats have a total of 28 teeth. Fur coloration ranges from gray to various shades of brown on the body, with a white "beard" around the bottom of the face. The underside of the body is lighter, there is a white spot on each shoulder, and there are white horizontal stripes on the wings that are more noticeable in males (Reid, 1997). Forearm length varies from 41-47 mm (Nowak, 1997). Although C. senex is classified under the "leaf nosed" family, this species does not have a leaf nose. In fact, the nose is greatly reduced in size, while the eyes are quite large. The ears are yellow and the tragus is of moderate length. The tail is covered with hair but does not extend beyond the uropatagium. Females on average are slightly larger in body size (Snow et al., 1980).
Range mass: 13 to 28 g.
Range length: 53 to 70 mm.
Average length: 55 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
These bats primarily inhabit dense forested areas, either tropical or deciduous, although they are occasionally found in less dense areas (Fenton et al., 1992). Within these forests they live in both moist and dry areas, and from lowlands (Venezuela) to altitudes of 1400 meters (Costa Rica). However, they are most common at altitudes less than 1000 meters (Eisenberg, 1989).
Range elevation: 0 to 1400 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
Habitat and Ecology
These animals are exclusively frugivorous. Most wrinkle-faced bats prefer overripe fruit, such as soft bananas and mangos, which they suck on. However, they may also eat unripe fruit, depending on the availability of food resources. Small protuberances between the lips and the gums filter juice when these animals feed on mushy fruit (Nowak, 1997). The morphology of these bats allows them to temporarily store fruit pulp in their mouths (Snow et al., 1980).
Foods eaten include: mangos, bananas, pawpaws and other tropical fruits.
Plant Foods: fruit
Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore )
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
During pregnancy females usually roost in the same tree with the males. Males use odiferous glands under their chins to attract females. Mating appears to take place anywhere from January through August, although males have been found most sexually active in the month of March (Snow et al., 1980). Females are most likely polyestrous. Lactation in females occurs in February, March and August (Nowak, 1997).
Average number of offspring: 1.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Centurio senex
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Centurio senex
Public Records: 44
Specimens with Barcodes: 55
Species With Barcodes: 1
Although the species is not endangered, it is still quite uncommon within the areas it inhabits.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
May be locally abundant when there is fruit available (Miller pers. comm.)
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Positive Impacts: pollinates crops
The wrinkle-faced bat (Centurio senex) is a species of bat in the family Phyllostomidae. It is the only identified member of the genus Centurio. It is found in various countries in and around Central America. It eats fruit but is not classified within the fruit bats. It is classified as a leaf-nosed bat but does not have a leaf nose. It has an unusually shaped skull which is thought to allow the bat to eat a wider range of foods than other bats.
C. senex is tail-less, medium sized and generally has a pelage of a drab brown to yellowish-brown colour. They weigh around 17g. Their face is hairless and is covered by convoluted outgrowths of skin (as would be expected from the common name). These skin flaps are more pronounced in males than females and males also possess a skin mask that can be used to cover their face. They have storage pouches in their mouths to allow them to store fruit. C. senex subsp. greenhalli differs from the more common C. senex subsp. senex by being larger and in having a more domed braincase, better developed sagittal crest, and relatively shorter maxillary toothrow. Their skulls are extremely short and wide, which is thought to allow it to produce bite forces up to 20% higher than other bats of a similar size. It is able to generate the largest biting force, relative to its size of any of the leaf-nosed bats.
The species is entirely frugivorous (fruit-eating) although it is not known which types of fruit they consume. Elizabeth Dumont from the University of Massachusetts believes that the strong biting force of the bat allows it to survive through times when soft fruit is scarce as they are able to eat tougher fruit than other bats.
Females are thought to be both polyestrous and asynchronous, pregnant females have been recorded every month between January and August except May. Males emit a musky odour from the chin area to attract females. Their sperm morphology is unique in that the sperm head has a rounded nucleus and extremely pointed acrosome.
C. senex subsp. senex is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. C. senex subsp. greenhalli is only found in Trinidad and Tobago.
The binomial name Centurio senex is formed from the Latin centurio meaning division into hundreds and senex referring to old people. This name was chosen as it was thought that the face of the bat looked like that of a one hundred-year-old man.
- Snow, Jennifer; J. Knox Jones and David Webster (Nov 20, 1980). "Centurio senex". Mammalian Species (Jstor: American Society of Mammalogists) 138 (138): 1–3. JSTOR 3503871.
- Gill, Victoria (21 August 2009). "Bizarre-looking bat's strong bite". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- Chiroptera Specialist Group 1996. Centurio senex. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 30 July 2007