Broad-eared bats are found in tropical and subtropical Central and South America. They occur at elevations up to 1700 m, but are most often found at elevations less than 500 m. The species ranges as far north as northern Mexico and south to central South America.
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Broad-eared bats are smaller than Nyctinomops aurispinosis and N yctinomops macrotis and have a relatively smaller braincase. Their coloration is generally brown on top and paler beneath. The wing membranes have no hair and are semitransparent.
The upper lip of broad-eared bats is wrinkled and turned up. The nostrils are raised on small tubes backed by a hard ridge. These bats have prolonged and delicate mandibles. Individuals of the northern subspecies are larger than those from the southern part of the range.
Individuals measure 88 to 141 mm in total length, of which, between 34 and 57 mm is contributed by the tail.
Range length: 88 to 141 mm.
Range wingspan: forearm length, 41 to forearm length, 64 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Broad-eared bats roost and forage in several different habitats. They can be found in tropical evergreen forests, deciduous forest, subtropical moist forests, thorn forests with mangrove and coconut trees, cloud forests, and swampy chacoan vegetaion. These bats are also found roosting in crevices in man-made structures, between rocks and in cracks on rocky cliffs. In northeast Mexico, they have been found roosting in caves.
Range elevation: sea level to 1700 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
Habitat and Ecology
Broad-eared bats primarily eat coleopterans taken in flight, but also feed on lepidopterans.
Animal Foods: insects
Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )
Broad-eared bats feed on numerous insect species and are food for at least two species of owls. This being the case, these bats are probably very important in structuring local insect populations. Their use as prey by owls, hawks, and snakes means they could have a positive impact on populations of those animals.
Broad-eared bats are preyed upon by barn owls (Tyto alba), Stygian owls (Asio stygius), snakes and sparrow hawks.
- barn owls (Tyto alba)
- Stygian owls (Asio stygius)
- snakes (Serpentes)
- sparrow hawks (Falco sparverius)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Known prey organisms
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Broad-eared bats have been heard making audible chirps, but no data was collected regarding the use or meaning of the chirps.
As mammals, it is likely that these bats use visual, chemical and tactile communication, especialy when in the roost.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; echolocation ; chemical
No data available
The mating system of these animals has not been reported.
Broad-eared bats breed during the rainy season, which varies by location. Each female will come into estrous only once a year, and usually has only one young. Parturition is synchronous. The young are able to open their eyes, lift their ears and move over flat surfaces a few hours after birth.
Breeding interval: These bats breed once per year.
Breeding season: These animal apparently breed in the rainy season.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous
Details on the parental care of this species are not available. However, it is likely that the female performs most of the parental care, as she nurses the offspring.
Parental Investment: no parental involvement; precocial ; pre-fertilization (Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Nyctinomops laticaudatus
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: Nyctinomops laticaudatus
Public Records: 17
Specimens with Barcodes: 28
Species With Barcodes: 1
Broad-eared bats are rare or uncommon throughout their range, except in the Yucatan Peninsula. They are not listed afforded any special protection under CITES or IUCN.
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
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Broad-eared bats may carry rabies.
Negative Impacts: injures humans (carries human disease)
There is no information available on the possible economic importance of these animals to humans.
The broad-eared bat is a relatively small bat, measuring about 10 cm (3.9 in) in total length, and weighing 11 g (0.39 oz) on average. The bats have a dark chocolate brown body with paler underparts, and hairless, translucent wings. The snout is pointed with an upturned tip, and the lower jaw is longer and narrower than is typical in free-tailed bats. As the common name of the bat suggests, the ears are unusually wide and rounded, and they join together in the middle of the forehead.
Distribution and habitat
Broad-eared bats are found in tropical and subtropical forests from coastal Mexico to southern Brazil. It has been reported from a range of forest types, as well as scrubland and cerrado habitats, and even in urban areas. It is found from coastal plains to cloud forests as high as 1,500 m (4,900 ft), but is more common below 500 m (1,600 ft). Five subspecies are recognised:
- N. l. laticaudatus - southern Paraguay and neighbouring parts of Brazil and Argentina
- N. l. europs - South America east of the Andes, from Venezuela to northern Paraguay and Argentina
- N. l. ferrugineus - coastal regions of central and northeastern Mexico
- N. l. macarenensis - South America west of the Andes, from westernmost Venezuela to northernmost Peru
- N. l. yucatanicus - Central America, southern Mexico, and Cuba
Biology and behaviour
Broad-eared bats are nocturnal, and roost during the day in rocky crevices in tightly packed groups of anything from 150 to 1,000 individuals. However, in Tamaulipas, colonies of several thousand have been reported roosting in caves. Such colonies can be resident throughout the year, but are not always so, and individual bats do not always return to the same home area.
Broad-nosed bats breed in the rainy season, giving birth between June and July in the northern parts of their range, and later in the year further south. They give birth to a single hairless young, weighing about 3 g (0.11 oz), which first opens its eyes within a few hours of birth.
- Barquez, R., Rodriguez, B., Miller, B. & Diaz, M. (2008). Nyctinomops laticaudatus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Avila-Flores, R., Flores-Martinez, J.J., & Ortega, J. (2002). "Nyctinomops laticaudatus". Mammalian Species: Number 697: pp. 1–6. doi:10.1644/1545-1410(2002)697<0001:NL>2.0.CO;2.
- Villa, R.B. (1960). "Tadarida yucatanica in Tamaulipas". Journal of Mammalogy 41 (3): 314–319. doi:10.2307/1377488.
- Motta, J.C. Jr. & Taddei, V.A. (1992). "Bats as prey of stygian owls in southeastern Brazil". Journal of Raptor Research 26 (4): 259–260.