Tuesday 21 May
Banana bat (Musonycteris harrisoni)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Banana bat fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Banana bat description
The most distinguishing feature of the banana bat (Musonycteris harrisoni) is its extremely elongated snout, hence its alternative name of 'trumpet-nosed bat’. This medium-sized, highly-specialised bat also possesses a remarkably long tongue, which measures an incredible two-thirds of its body length when fully extended (3). The fur is typically a greyish-brown colour and the hairs have a rather spiny appearance around the face and neck (4). The ears are small and rounded and the tail is short (2).
Banana bat biology
The banana bat feeds primarily on the nectar of a variety of plants, including native cacti and the introduced banana plant, using its specialised elongated snout to feed from particularly long-tubed flowers (3). It also feeds on insects (3), and bites or pulls off anthers from flowers to feed on the pollen (6). While feeding, some of the pollen may become stuck to the spiny hairs around the bat’s face and neck (4), and is then carried to the next flower the bat feeds from. As a result, the banana bat acts as a pollinator of bananas and other plants (6). The banana bat may undertake short seasonal migrations in order to find flowering plants on which to feed (1).
The banana bat typically roosts in small colonies in trees, under rocky overhangs or in caves. Although studies of reproduction in the banana bat are scarce, it is thought to reproduce once a year during the dry season, between mid-March and mid-April (2).Top
Banana bat rangeTop
Banana bat habitat
The banana bat is restricted to tropical deciduous and dry forest. This type of habitat is characterised by a rainy season during the months of June through to October and a drier season from November through to May (1) (5) (6).Top
Banana bat status
The banana bat is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Banana bat threats
The main threat facing the banana bat is habitat loss (1). The dry forest habitat of the banana bat is one of the most endangered habitats in Mexico, due to the pressures of an increasing human population (3).Top
Banana bat conservation
The banana bat is protected by Mexican law and occurs in at least two protected areas, which should hopefully offer its habitat some level of protection (1). As the banana bat appears to be reliant on undisturbed forests that contain its preferred food plants and suitable roost sites, it is important that the remaining dry forests of western Mexico are protected (3) (6).Top
Find out more
More about bat conservation:
Organization for Bat Conservation:
Bat Conservation International:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- The anther is the part of the stamen (the male reproductive organ of a flower) that produces pollen.
- A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
- An animal that in the act of visiting a plant’s flowers transfers pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
IUCN Red List (October, 2010)
- Tellez, G. and Ortega, J. (1999) Musonycteris harrisoni. Mammalian Species, 622: 1-3.
- Tschapka, M., Sperr, E.B., Caballero-Martínez, L.A. and Medellín, R.A. (2008) Diet and cranial morphology of Musonycteris harrisoni, a highly specialized nectar-feeding bat in western Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy, 89(4): 924-931.
- Howell, D.J. and Hodgkin, N. (1976) Feeding adaptation in the hairs and tongues of nectar-feeding bats. Journal of Morphology, 148: 329-336.
- Stoner, K.E., Quesada, M., Rosas-Guerrero, V. and Lobo, J.A. (2002) Effects of forest fragmentation on the Colima long-nosed bat (Musonycteris harrisoni) foraging in tropical dry forest of Jalisco. Biotropica, 34(3): 462-467.
- Quesada, M., Stoner, K.E., Rosas-Guerrero, V., Palacios-Guevara, C. and Lobo, J.A. (2003) Effects of habitat disruption on the activity of nectarivorous bats (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) in a dry tropical forest: implications for the reproductive success of the neotropical tree Ceiba grandiflora. Oecologia, 135: 400-406.
© Dr. Rodrigo A. Medellín
Dr. Rodrigo A. Medellín
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.