Bats or Chiroptera are the most common mammal in the world with a global distribution (outside the Poles) and considered the only true flying mammals.
They are divided in two sub-orders, megabats and microbats; the large megabats have good visual skills and feed principally on fruit, nectar and pollen whilst the microbats have poor sight but advanced echolocation and feed on insects, fish, blood and other prey. Their body size is apparently irrelevant in this classification.
Most bats are nocturnal and the microbats have large ears and a leaf nose to help in echolocation permitting them to feed, fly and land without bumping into each other.
As well as eating innumerous insects (75% of bats are insectivorous) during the course of the night, their pollination of many flowers is essential to the health of the forests as well as their dispersal of fruits and seeds.
Megabats have developed long tongues to reach their food. They are frequently found feeding at the hummer feeders in the lodge garden at night.
The first formal Bat inventory at REGUA, carried out between 2010 and 2011, was guided by Professor Davor of Rio University. Field work was conducted by Camilla, Renan and Roberto. They set up mist nets around the REGUA reserve at different altitudes, netting 1,300 individuals, a total of 31 species in three families.
Brazil boasts 170 species. The most common found at REGUA were leaf-nosed bats, from the Phyllostomidae family which has 24 species. They also saw and caught fish-eating bats as well as the feared vampire bats which are surprisingly small creatures.
The team concluded that the diversity of species is one of the highest ever recorded in the Atlantic Forest and it is a clear indication that the habitat is well preserved.
Renan is now studying forest fragments located adjacent to REGUA. These islands of forests are not connected to the main forest block. The team want to identify the species present and estimate their populations compared to the larger forested block and its fully protected forested gradient. The data will be an important step in justifying the planting of corridors as well as their protection.
A full list of REGUA’s bats can be found here: