A Bat that Roosts Inside Leaves!

There are countless bat species that are fun and interesting to learn about. But there is one particular species of bat that has earned themselves a reputation for being unique. That is because they live inside leaves of trees and plants!

These bats are call Spix’s Disc-Winged bats, and have many unique attributes that set them apart from other species throughout the world. Continue reading to learn more about this fascinating bat!

Spix’s Disc-Winged Bat

Scientifically named, Thyroptera tricolor, Spix’s Disc-Winged bat is a remarkable Microchiroptera species that was first discovered in 1823 by German biologist, Johann Baptist Ritter von Spix. And one of its most defining characteristics are the disk-like anatomical features on their thumbs and hind feet. Hence the name, “Spix’s Disc-Winged” bat. The discs on their thumbs and hind feet are supported by an internal cartilaginous plate and work like suction cups, allowing them to grip tightly and easily move across smooth surfaces.

Their color of their top coats range in tone, from reddish browns to incandescent blacks, while their underbellies are usually a pale white or yellow color. They are very small bats, weighing an average of 4 grams and growing no longer than 37 millimeters. Regardless of its small size, they are agile flyers and can navigate quite well, but never fly higher than 3 to 5 meters off the ground. Instead, they fly shallow, looking for suitable roosting locations.

And do you know where Spix’s Disc-Winged roost?

Spix’s Disc-Winged bats are mostly native to Neotropical regions of the world, like South America. But since the species is so widespread, it is recognized as a “least concern” on the bat conversation list. However, their population density largely depends on how abundant a region’s forests and lands are with plants and trees. This is because the Spix’s Disc-Winged bat roosts inside curled up leaves (furled leaves)! And without adequate roosting locations, the Spix’s Disc-Winged bat populations cannot reproduce in large quantities.

Yes, you heard right: Spix’s Disc-Winged bat roosts inside furled leaves! They use their concave suctioning disks to cling inside a leaf, head-up. This behavior is unlike most bat species that hang head-down in their roosts. Just another interesting fact about Spix’s Disc-Winged bats! They usually roost up to 5 bats per leaf, all in head-up formation. And every night they hunt, they look for new roosting locations. What’s even more interesting is that, despite their nomadic lifestyle, they live together for years.

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