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(smoothnosed bats), a family of mammals of the order Chiroptera. There are 38 genera, embracing 275 species. Their dimensions are small: the body length is 32-105 mm, and the weight is 4-50 g. They are the oldest Chiroptera. The majority of species are capable of prolonged and rapid flight. They are widely distributed over the whole globe (in the north to the boundaries of woody vegetation), excluding the antarctic and some ocean islands. They inhabit almost all natural zones. Vespertilionidae are nocturnal or crepuscular; they sleep by day in cracks and hollows of trees, in caves, or in man-made structures, gathering in small groups or forming multitudinous colonies. They feed exclusively on insects, which they catch in midair or sometimes on the ground and on tree branches. They reproduce once a year. Gestation lasts 40-70 days, and litters contain from one to four young. The majority of northern species hibernate during the winter, some migrate south. They are beneficial to man, since they eat harmful insects.
REFERENCEKuziakin, A. P. Letuchie myshi. Moscow, 1950.
O. L. ROSSOLIMO