Southern Long Nosed Bat, Leptonycteris curasoae

The southern long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae) is a species of leaf-nosed bat that is native to South America. It holds a range that includes Venezuela, Colombia, and the islands of Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire. It prefers a habitat within arid or semiarid climates along coastlines or in scrublands and thorn forests. The Curacao population was once thought to be a subspecies but is now classified as a population along with other populations of the species.

The southern long-nosed bat is medium in size with a long nose that resembles a leaf. Its fur is short and greyish brown in color. The long tongue of this bat is specialized to consume nectar, holding hook shaped papillae along the edges of the tip. Its main diet consists of nectar from species including cactus plants, Ceiba, and Agave, but it will also consume fruit and pollen.

As is typical to bat species, the southern long-nosed bat is highly social, gathering in groups the reach into the thousands and roosting in abandoned mines and caves.  The breeding season of this species occurs between the months of November and December, after which young are born in isolated caves in birth colonies. Young are weaned at about two months of age and the average lifespan of the species is ten years. The southern long-nosed bat appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Vulnerable.”

Image Caption: Lesser (Southern) Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris curasoae). Credit: NPS/Wikipedia