Did you know that there are two major species of bats in the world? It’s true! All bats can be placed into one of two categories: Microchiroptera or Megachiroptera. These are colloquially called “megabats” and “microbats.” Keep on reading to learn the principal differences and distinctions between them, including their appearance, diet, habitat, and much more!
Microchiroptera, or microbats, are modest in size and have big ears. They’re echolocating mammals, meaning that they use a built in, biological sonar system, which emits ultrasonic sounds that bounce of neighboring objects and come back to the bat. Micros aren’t blind, but echolocation helps them dart and dive for prey more accurately at night.
In terms of diet, micros primarily eat insects; but some larger species eat small fish, rodents, birds, and amphibians. Three particular species consumes the blood of different animals, mainly birds and livestock. But don’t worry; they do not drink human blood!
When it comes to habitat, microbats live in moderate climates, and typically roost in hollowed trees, abandoned mines, caves, as well as in residential and commercial buildings (especially attics!) .
This is mainly due to their frugivorous and nectarivorous diets, which chiefly consists of fruit, nectar, and pollen. Some species are known to eat some insects, but their diet primarily consists of the nectar and pollen of blossoms and fruit. Because of this, this suborder of bats do not use nor retain echolocating abilities. They do, however, have a keen sense of smell that helps them find food sources, in addition to, adapted teeth which are powerful enough to bite through fruit rinds.
In terms of appearance, it’s easy to distinguish a mega out of a micro. But, Microbats lack the claw in the second finger of the forelimb that megabats don’t have. Megabats reside in hot, tropical, and subtropical regions of the world. You are not likely to see wild fruit bats living in the woods of the U.S. Midwest.