Megachiroptera

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Related to megachiropterans: Microchiroptera

Megachiroptera

[¦meg·ə·kī′räp·tə·rə]
(vertebrate zoology)
The fruit bats, a group of Chiroptera restricted to the Old World; most species lack a tail, but when present it is free of the interfemoral membrane.

Megachiroptera

 

a suborder of mammals of the order Chiroptera. In contrast to representatives of the other suborder of bats, Microchiroptera, many megachiropterans attain large dimensions (body length up to 42 cm, wingspread up to 1.5 m). However, small forms also exist (body length up to 6 cm). The tail in many species is absent. The teeth are smooth-crowned, adapted for crushing plant food. The eyes are large. Both vision and the sense of smell are well developed. The capacity for echolocation has been established only in Megachiropterans of the genus Rousettus, which live in caves.

Megachiropterans are distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the eastern hemisphere as far north as Egypt, Asia Minor, and southern Japan; there are none in the USSR. The suborder has one family, Pteropodidae, which comprises about 200 species. Megachiropterans are active at night and at twilight. They spend the day in treetops, more rarely in caves or on cliffs. Some are sometimes active during the day. Megachiropterans usually live in large colonies. The female bears one offspring annually. Most megachiropterans feed on the fruit pulp of wild and cultivated plants. The small species feed on nectar and flower pollen and thus serve as pollinators of a number of tropical plants. They sometimes damage orchards. Representatives of the genus Pteropus, and sometimes all megachiropterans, are also called kalongs.

P. P. STRELKOV