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Proboscis bat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Emballonuridae
Genus: Rhynchonycteris
Peters, 1867
Species: R. naso
Binomial name
Rhynchonycteris naso
(Wied-Neuwied, 1820)
1 species
File:Proboscis Bat area.png
Proboscis bat range

Vespertilio naso

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File:Rhynchonycteris naso.jpg

Rhynchonycteris naso

The proboscis bat, Rhynchonycteris naso, is a bat species from South and Central America.[2] Other common names include sharp-nosed bat,[3] Brazilian long-nosed bat[4] and river bat[5] in English, and murciélago narizón in Spanish. It is monotypic within its genus.

This species is in the family Emballonuridae, the sac-winged or sheath-tailed bats. Like most bats, it is nocturnal. It is found from southern Mexico to Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, as well as in Trinidad.[1][6][7]


This is a small bat, around 6 centimeters (2 inches) long and 4 grams (1.4 ounces) in weight. Males in northern South America were found to average 56.48 millimeters long, females 59.18.[4] The tail is about 1.6 centimeters long.[4] Pregnant females can weigh up to 6 grams.[4] The species is characterized by its long and pointed nose. Its fur is soft and dense and is brownish-grey in color, with two white stripes down the back. Whether these stripes serve a purpose, such as camouflage or attraction of mates, is unknown.


This species is found in the lowlands of the northern half of South America, throughout Central America, and into southeastern Mexico. From Ecuador south, it is limited to east of the Andes; its range extends south to the northern half of Bolivia and much of Brazil. It seldom occurs above 300 meters (1,000 feet) in elevation.[4] It usually lives around wetlands and is frequently found in riparian forests, pastures and swamps, all near water.


Proboscis bats live in groups. The colonies are usually between five and ten individuals, and very rarely exceed forty. The bats are nocturnal, sleeping during the day in an unusual formation: they lay one after another on a branch or wooden beam, nose to tail, in a straight row.

A colony of proboscis bats usually has a regular feeding area, typically a small patch of water. Here the bats catch insects using echolocation. They have no specific breeding season, forming stable year-round harems. One young is born. Both sexes disperse after weaning at around 2–4 months.

This small species of bat has been found to occasionally fall prey to the large spider Argiope savignyi.[7]

Relations with humans[]

They have the potential to be both helpful and harmful to humans because they eat insects, sometimes ones that could pollinate crops and sometimes harmful ones.


  1. ^ a b Chiroptera Specialist Group (1996). "Rhynchonycteris naso". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ Infonatura
  3. ^ Sharp-nosed Bat - Rhynchonycteris naso
  4. ^ a b c d e Plumpton, David L.; Jones, J. Knox Jr. (10 December 1992). "Rhynchonycteris naso" (PDF). Mammalian Species. American Society of Mammalogists. 413: 1–5. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Lim, Burton K.; Engstrom, Mark D. (26 Nov 2001). "Bat community structure at Iwokrama Forest, Guyana". J. Trop. Ecol. 17 (5): 647–665. doi:10.1017/S0266467401001481. 
  6. ^ Rhynchonycteris
  7. ^ a b Timm, Robert M. & Losilla, Mauricio (2007): Orb-weaving Spider, Argiope savignyi (Araneidae), Predation on the Proboscis Bat Rhynchonycteris naso (Emballonuridae). Caribbean Journal of Science 43(2): 282-284. PDF