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Free «Bats Ecology» Essay Sample

Bats are small to medium sized mammals, capable of flight and having webbed forelimbs, which forms the wings. They are divided into two sub orders, which are Megachiroptera (largely fruit dependent) and Microchiroptera (largely insectivorous) (Findley 9).This paper will critically compares five species of bats, their environments, diet among other factors.

The Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus Fuscus)

This animal is about 4-5 inches in body length, with an 11- 13-inch wingspan and weighs about 0.5 ounce, approximately 15 grams (Altringham 11). It has brown fur with dark, furless wings and an expected lifespan of over 10 years.

Environment

The big brown bat has a wide range of environments, from forests and parks, to cities and farms. In the wild, it prefers to build is roost in hollow trees, notably the black willow, red maple, American sycamore and the eastern white pine. In human populated areas, it lives attics, old buildings, bans, sewers, under bridges and even man constructed bat houses (Stuart 37).

Diet

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This bat feeds mainly on insects like beetles, stinkbugs, moths, leafhoppers, mosquitoes and wasps. Since they do not see the prey, they usually hunt by echolocation.

Environment Role

The diet of the big brown bat is mainly insects, which can be found in its selected habitats (Altringham 14). Occupation of its natural habitat by humans, including man’s activities like tree logging and deforestation, has increasingly forced this bat into homes, parks, and urban areas.

Range of Species

This bat is mainly found in central and Northern America, going as far north as central Canada and as far south as Brazil. Its main concentrations are in the deciduous forest areas and suburban areas of the USA and Mexico (Gibbons 14).

Necessities for Survival

Brown bats are terrestrial and maybe found alone or in colonies. It has limited vision, and so relies on a very advanced sense of hearing and echolocation to find prey. Females give bath to one or two offspring, showing a K- preference in ecology, as opposed to having many offspring and limited parental involvement in breeding.

The Little Brown Bat (Myotis Lucifugus)

This bat type is between 6-10 centimeters in length, with a wingspan of 23-28 centimeters and having a mass of approximately 15 grams (Stuart 78).

Environment, Habitat and Diet

This animal typically lives in trees, buildings, rock crevices, caves, old buildings, attics, or under roofs. They feed mainly on moths, wasps, mosquitoes, gnats and flies.

Role of the Selected Environment

These bats live in areas hidden away from easy access by predators; the main ones being snakes, birds, carnivores such as jackals and cats. During winter, they must hibernate to conserve energy and keep warm, thus the selection of caves as their roosting grounds (Stuart 67).

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Range of Species

The little brown bat has been found to occupy most of the North America, including the southern part of Canada. Small numbers have also been found in Iceland. Most bats found in the extreme north are males.

Mode of Survival

The little brown bat is terrestrial, showing less tendency of isolation than the big brown bats. They have large ears to aid in hearing since they do not rely on sight. They use echolocation to find prey, avoid predators, and emit pulses in the range of 40 to 80 Kilohertz (Altringham 14). They show the k-preference breeding behavior where a mother typically gives birth to only one or two offspring per year.

Vampire Bat (Desmodus Rotundus)

These bats are smaller than the previous two. It is about three inches long and has a wingspan of less than eight inches, with mass averaging at 15 grams. They have small ears, a short tail, and sharp teeth.

Environment, Habitat and Diet

Vampire bats feed on animal blood. They suck blood from almost any resting warm-blooded animal they can find. Unlike the other two, they are mostly found in livestock rearing areas where finding hosts is easy.

Role of Selected Environment

The vampire bats’ chief resource is the host. They are low fliers, approximately one meter from ground, and therefore must avoid riskier areas where chances of detection or predation are high.

Range of Species

These bats are found as far North as Northern Mexico and among other livestock rearing areas, such as Chile, Argentina and Uruguay among others.

Mode of Survival

The vampire bats are very light to avoid detection as they land on host. They roost in colonies of between 6 and 2000 individuals, but the most common figure is about 100. Like other bats, the vampire bat shows the k-preference mode of breeding.

Trident Bat (Asellia Tridens)

 
 
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This is a loose-nosed bat most commonly found in arid and desert habitats. It has long fine fur covering its face and an average total length of only 7 centimeters and weighs approximately 4 grams.

Environment, Habitat and Diet

The trident bat occupies crevices and cliffs in arid lands. Due to having sensitive teeth, its main diet consists of soft-bodied insects, especially locusts and any other small insects it can find in desert habitats.

Role of Selected Environment

This bat lives in very hot areas, and the need for food is often as vital as its need for temperature regulation. It forages at night by echolocation, or near cool water surfaces in oasis and pools.

Range of Species

This bat is found extensively in northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and some parts of central and Southern Africa (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (Morrill 45).

Mode of Survival

Currently, the world populations of this type of bat is stable, although concerns have been raised owing to the threat of locust’s control, locusts being a major diet for the bat. Like all bats, it dwells in dark, hidden areas to avoid detection and predation.

Flying Fox

Flying fox, also referred as fruit birds, is the largest of all species. They have a wingspan of over 6 feet, but its weight is about 1.5 kilograms. Ears are long and pointed, and its eyes are big.

Environment, Habitat and Diet

This bat is found mainly in tropical climates, but also in areas slightly south and north of the tropics. They live in mangrove swamps, holes dug into rivers banks and sometimes also in tree hollows and urban environments (Findley 15).

Role of Selected Environment

They live in the tropics where there is plenty of fresh fruit, nectar and flower pollen, which are their main diet. Absence of echolocation and developed hearing and sight means that these animals must forage in the daytime.

Range of Species

This species is widely founds in the tropics, especially in Asia, Indonesia, Australia and islands off Africa. They are native to Australia, New Guinea, Papua and some islands off the coast of Africa.

Mode of Survival

The bat is gregarious, with the female giving birth to one offspring per year. Scientists studying the flying primate’s theory have found special interest in the fox bat. It is thought that the bat might have descended from primates, and not from bats, where it then re-attained the flying capability.

Conclusion

It is evident that bats choose their ecological environment based on availability of food, threat evasion, and their physiological endowments. Generally, bats have changed their natural habitat, due to human activities to occupy areas near or in human settlements.

   

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