Spectral Bat, Vampyrum spectrum
The spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum) is the only species in the Vampyrum genus. Its other common names include Linnaeus’s false vampire bat, the spectral vampire bat, and the false vampire bat. Despite these names, it is not related to the false vampire bats that are found in the Old World bat family. Its range extends from southern Mexico to Peru, from Ecuador to northern and central Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, and the island of Trinidad.
The spectral bat can reach an average body length of up to 5.3 inches and a weight of 5.1 to 6.7 ounces, and it is the largest carnivorous bat in the world. It has an average wingspan of nearly three feet, although individuals with longer wingspans are not uncommon. The short fur on its upper body is typically rusty orange, dark brown, or burnished brown in color. The underbelly is typically light grey or brownish yellow in color. Although this bat does not have a tail, the membrane between its legs is broad. It has large feet that bear sharp claws, and a prominent nose leaf that is pointed.
The spectral bat is a skilled hunter, preying upon reptiles, amphibians, large insects, and small birds and mammals, including smaller bat species. It can be seen perching on branches, similar to owls, and swooping down to catch its prey. Each female is able to produce one pup per year, and both the father and the mother are attentive to the pup. These bats can often be seen sleeping together, with the mother and pup wrapped in the father’s wings.
The spectral bat appears in popular culture, most notably in the book Silverwing written by Kenneth Oppel. In the book, there are two spectral bats named Goth and Throbb, and is stated multiple times that they are spectral bats in the book and on the Silverwing website. The spectral bat appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Near Threatened”.
Image Caption: Spectral Bat, Vampyrum spectrum. Credit: Wikipedia