Bats from Cocobolo

We’re just finishing up an incredible first week at Cocobolo and already caught 44 species of bats, everything from fishing bats to vampires, not to mention a wide variety of fruit, nectar, and insect eaters. Merlin added 10 additional species to his collection! Pygmy fruit-eating bats were found roosting in leaves they had cut to form “tents”.

Pygmy fruit-eating bat (Artibeus phaeotis)

Chestnut short-tailed bats were all around camp, feeding on piper fruit.

Chestnut short-tailed bat (Carollia castanea)

We caught more than 20 Common vampire bats. Frontier campesinos keep a few livestock not too far away, explaining the presence of so many vampires. Most of these seem to have lots of personality, enabling Merlin to get this cool photo. The trip participants had loads of fun shooting videos of the vampires running around on the ground on all fours.

Common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus)

Bonda mastiff bats were netted drinking and feeding over a nearby river. These are very fast flying insect eaters that normally feed high over the forest.

Bonda mastiff bat (Molossus bondae)

Many Salvin’s big-eyed bats are found as they search for fruit in the forest. Despite their big eyes, these bats are exceptionally difficult to photograph because they tend to shut their eyes when held for a photo.

Salvin’s big-eyed bat (Chiroderma salvini)

Greater sac-winged bats were common everywhere we went, including five that roosted in our shower stalls.

Greater sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata)
Silky short-tailed bat (Carollia brevicauda)
Central American yellow bat (Rhogeesa tumida)

Rhogeesa tumida is one of the smallest Central American bats. It weighs less than a US nickel (about four grams). This tiny insect-eating bat generally avoids capture in traditional mist nets, but was captured in our ultra-fine monofilament mist net.

Dark long-tongued bat (Lichonycteris obscura)

This Dark long-tongued bat was one of several nectar-feeding species that we netted between our tents among flowering banana plants. This was only the second one of this species that Merlin had seen.

Silver-tipped myotis (Myotis albescens)

The Silver-tipped myotis was one of the species that appeared to be feeding on small mayflies over the river.

Greater fishing bat (Noctilio leporinus) Photo by Maria Serrano
Spix’s disk-winged bats (Thyroptera tricolor)
White-throated round-eared bat (Tonatia silvicola)
Hairy big-eared bat (Micronycteris hirsuta)
Northern little yellow-eared bat (Vampyressa thyone)

We caught our last fishing bat on the next-to-last night for Group 1. They’re expert at avoiding even the finest of mist nets. Everyone especially enjoyed seeing the first fishing bat of the trip. Notice their huge feet and claws. These bats have flattened toes and very sharp claws for snatching minnows from the water. This is one of the areas largest species with nearly 3/4 of a meter wide wingspan.