Myotis vivesi

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Myotis vivesi
Myotis vivesi.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Myotis
M. vivesi
Binomial name
Myotis vivesi
Ménégaux, 1901  [2]
Myotis vivesi range Map.png

Myotis vivesi, the fish-eating bat or fish-eating myotis, [3] is a species of bat that lives around the Gulf of California, and feeds on fish and crustaceans. It is the largest species of the genus Myotis in the Americas, and has exceptionally large feet, which it uses in hunting. It was described in 1901 by Auguste Ménégaux and is the only species in the subgenus (or genus) Pizonyx.

In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more closely they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, and in a ring species. Also, among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, and each clone is potentially a microspecies.

Bat Order of flying mammals

Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera; with their forelimbs adapted as wings, they are the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Bats are more manoeuvrable than birds, flying with their very long spread-out digits covered with a thin membrane or patagium. The smallest bat, and arguably the smallest extant mammal, is Kitti's hog-nosed bat, which is 29–34 mm (1.14–1.34 in) in length, 15 cm (5.91 in) across the wings and 2–2.6 g (0.07–0.09 oz) in mass. The largest bats are the flying foxes and the giant golden-crowned flying fox, Acerodon jubatus, which can weigh 1.6 kg (4 lb) and have a wingspan of 1.7 m.

Gulf of California A gulf of the Pacific Ocean between the Baja peninsula and the Mexican mainland

The Gulf of California is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf's surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.



Myotis vivesi skull Myotis vivesi skull.jpg
Myotis vivesi skull

Myotis vivesi is the largest species in the genus Myotis in the Americas, [4] [5] and is similar in size to the Eurasian Myotis myotis (greater mouse-eared bat). [6] The skull averages 23 millimetres (0.91 in) in length. [6] The second largest Myotis species in the New World, Myotis velifer , has a skull 17.6 mm (0.69 in) long, and feet 8 mm (0.31 in) long; M. vivesi has greatly elongated hind feet, which average 23 mm (0.91 in) long. [6]

Americas Landmass comprising North America, Central America and South America

The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere and comprise the New World.

Eurasia The combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia

Eurasia is the largest continental landmass on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. The term is a portmanteau of its constituent continents. Located primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and by Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean to the south. The division between Europe and Asia as two different continents is a historical social construct, with no clear physical separation between them; thus, in some parts of the world, Eurasia is recognized as the largest of the six, five, or even four continents on Earth. In geology, Eurasia is often considered as a single rigid megablock. However, the rigidity of Eurasia is debated based on paleomagnetic data.

Greater mouse-eared bat species of mammal

The greater mouse-eared bat is a European species of bat in the family Vespertilionidae.

In common with other fish-eating bats, Myotis vivesi has long, efficient wings, with high aspect ratio and low wing loading, [7] and large feet with sharp claws. [8] The uropatagium (the wing surface between the hind legs) bears a fringe of silky hairs of unknown function; the uropatagium itself is used in hunting. [6]

Wing loading

In aerodynamics, wing loading is the total weight of an aircraft divided by the area of its wing. The stalling speed of an aircraft in straight, level flight is partly determined by its wing loading. An aircraft with a low wing loading has a larger wing area relative to its mass, as compared to an aircraft with a high wing loading.

The fur is around 8 mm (0.31 in) long, [6] and varies in colour from fawn to brown, with the base of each hair being dark grey. [4] In common with other piscivorous species of Myotis, the underside of M. vivesi is pale. [6]

Fur soft, thick, hairy coat of a mammal

Fur is a thick growth of hair that covers the skin of many animals. It is a defining characteristic of mammals. It consists of a combination of oily guard hair on top and thick underfur beneath. The guard hair keeps moisture and the underfur acts as an insulating blanket that keeps the animal warm.


Myotis vivesi is found along the coast of the Gulf of California in the Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur, mostly on small islands. [1] A small population exists on the Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula, between Isla Encantada and Punta Coyote. [6] Since it lives on small islands, the range of M. vivesi is naturally fragmented, but data from microsatellites and the mtDNA control region indicate that there is no isolation by distance in the species. [9]

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Sonora State of Mexico

Sonora, officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora, is one of 31 states that, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of United Mexican States. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo. Sonora is bordered by the states of Chihuahua to the east, Baja California to the northwest and Sinaloa to the south. To the north, it shares the U.S.–Mexico border primarily with the state of Arizona with a small length with New Mexico, and on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California.

Baja California Federal entity in Mexico

Baja California, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California, is a state in Mexico. It is the northernmost and westernmost of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1952, the area was known as the North Territory of Baja California. It has an area of 70,113 km2 (27,071 sq mi), or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico and comprises the northern half of the Baja California Peninsula, north of the 28th parallel, plus oceanic Guadalupe Island. The mainland portion of the state is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Sonora, the U.S. state of Arizona, and the Gulf of California, and on the south by Baja California Sur. Its northern limit is the U.S. state of California.

Ecology and behaviour

Myotis vivesi feeds chiefly on marine fish [10] or crustaceans, [6] including the squat lobster Pleuroncodes planipes . [11] Only one other bat species, Noctilio leporinus , hunts in marine waters. [12] The guano produced by M. vivesi is red if it has eaten crustaceans, and black if it has eaten fish; green guano and brown guano result from feeding on algae and insects, respectively. [6] As well as fish and crustaceans, M. vivesi also feeds occasionally on aerial insects. [5] M. vivesi can cover large distances when hunting; in 1970, scientists saw "a group of about 400 M. vivesi around a boat at least 7 km [4.3 miles] from the shore". [13] M. vivesi inhabits an arid environment and has evolved the ability to concentrate its urine; this allows it to survive by drinking seawater. [10]

Fish vertebrate animal that lives in water and (typically) has gills

Fish are gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals that lack limbs with digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates, together forming the olfactores. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish as well as various extinct related groups. Tetrapods emerged within lobe-finned fishes, so cladistically they are fish as well. However, traditionally fish are rendered paraphyletic by excluding the tetrapods. Because in this manner the term "fish" is defined negatively as a paraphyletic group, it is not considered a formal taxonomic grouping in systematic biology, unless it is used in the cladistic sense, including tetrapods. The traditional term pisces is considered a typological, but not a phylogenetic classification.

Crustacean subphylum of arthropods

Crustaceans form a large, diverse arthropod taxon which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimps, prawns, krill, woodlice, and barnacles. The crustacean group is usually treated as a subphylum, and because of recent molecular studies it is now well accepted that the crustacean group is paraphyletic, and comprises all animals in the Pancrustacea clade other than hexapods. Some crustaceans are more closely related to insects and other hexapods than they are to certain other crustaceans.

Squat lobster

Squat lobsters are dorsoventrally flattened crustaceans with long tails held curled beneath the cephalothorax. They are found in the two superfamilies Galatheoidea and Chirostyloidea, which form part of the decapod infraorder Anomura, alongside groups including the hermit crabs and mole crabs. They are distributed worldwide in the oceans, and occur from near the surface to deep sea hydrothermal vents, with one species occupying caves above sea level. More than 900 species have been described, in around 60 genera. Some species form dense aggregations, either on the sea floor or in the water column, and a small number are commercially fished.

M. vivesi prefers to roost either in caves or under rocks revealed by landslides. [5] They sometimes share their roosts with least petrels (Halocyptena microsoma) and black petrels (Oceanodroma melania). [6]

Taxonomy and evolution

Myotis vivesi was first described by Auguste Ménégaux in 1901. The species was moved to a new genus, Pizonyx by Gerrit Smith Miller in 1906, [14] but that taxon is now usually included in Myotis . [15] Ménégaux gave no indication of the etymology of the specific name vivesi; it may either refer to a person called Vives, or derive from the Latin verb vivere , "to live". If Vives was a person, he was not the collector of the specimens, that being recorded as Léon Diguet. [3] No subspecies of M. vivesi have been recognised. [6]

The closest relatives of M. vivesi are other New World species of Myotis which are not adapted to piscivory, rather than the other piscivorous bats in the genus. [14] This indicates that the adaptations to catching fish in M. vivesi and other species are the result of convergent evolution. [14] No fossils attributable to M. vivesi have been discovered. [6] A fossil species of Pizonyx, Pizonyx wheeleri, was named by Walter Dalquest and Daniel Patrick in 1993 from the Miocene of Texas, [16] but according to a 1993 review by Nicholas Czaplewski, this species instead belongs to the genus Antrozous and may not even be distinct from the living species Antrozous pallidus . [17]

Related Research Articles

Vespertilionidae family of vesper bats

Vespertilionidae is a family of micro-bats, of the order Chiroptera, flying insect-eating mammals variously described as the common, vesper, or simple nosed bats. The vespertilionid family is the most diverse and widely distributed of bat genera, specialised in many forms to occupy a range of habitats and ecological circumstances, and it is frequently observed or the subject of research. The facial features of the species are often simple, as they mainly rely on vocally emitted echolocation. The tail of the species are enclosed by the lower flight membranes between the legs, Over 300 species are distributed all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica. It owes its name to the genus Vespertilio, which takes its name from a word for bat, vespertilio, derived from the Latin term vesper meaning 'evening'; they are termed as evening bats and once referred to as 'evening birds'.

Mouse-eared bat genus of mammals

The mouse-eared bats (Myotis) are a diverse and widespread genus of bats within the family Vespertilionidae.

Pallid bat species of mammal

The pallid bat is a species of bat that ranges from western Canada to central Mexico. It is the sole species of its genus and is closely related to Van Gelder's bat, which is sometimes included in Antrozous. Although it has in the past been placed in its own subfamily (Antrozoinae) or even family (Antrozoidae), it is now considered part of the subfamily Vespertilioninae and the tribe Antrozoini.

Black myotis species of mammal

The black myotis, is a vesper bat species from South and Central America.

Para dog-faced bat species of mammal

The Para dog-faced bat, also called the brown dog-faced bat, is a South American bat species of the family Molossidae. It is found in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Brazil, and northern Argentina.

Gray sac-winged bat species of mammal

The gray sac-winged bat is a species in the family Emballonuridae which comprises the 51 species of sac-winged bats. It is found in Mexico from Baja California Sur and Sonora to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and northern Colombia, at elevations up to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft).

Van Gelders bat species of mammal

Van Gelder's bat is a species of vesper bat in the family Vespertilionidae. It is found in Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico. The species is monotypic within its genus. It is part of the tribe Antrozoini within the subfamily Vespertilioninae and is related to the pallid bat. The bat is found in forest habitat from sea level to elevations as high as 2300 m, although not usually above 1300 m, and is insectivorous and crepuscular. It apparently has a fragmented distribution, and is threatened by deforestation.

The eastern false pipistrelle, species Falsistrellus tasmaniensis, is a vespertilionid bat that occurs in eastern and south-eastern Australia, including the island of Tasmania.

Atacama myotis species of mammal

The Atacama myotis is a species of vesper bat in the family Vespertilionidae. It is found in Chile and Peru, an example ecoregion of occurrence being the Chilean matorral.

Southwestern myotis species of mammal

The southwestern myotis is a species of vesper bat. It is found in Guatemala, Mexico, and in Arizona and New Mexico in the United States.

Findleys myotis species of mammal

Findley's myotis is a species of vesper bat. It is found only on the Tres Marías Islands off the west coast of Mexico.

Peninsular myotis species of vesper bat

The peninsular myotis is a species of vesper bat. It is endemic to northwestern Mexico, found only within Baja California Sur state on the southern Baja California Peninsula. Its habitats include the southern Peninsular Ranges and deserts.

Yanbaru whiskered bat species of mammal

The Yanbaru whiskered bat(Myotis yanbarensis) is a species of vesper bat in the genus Myotis.

Yuma myotis species of mammal

The Yuma myotis is a species of vesper bat native to western North America.

Little brown bat species of mammal

The little brown bat is a species of mouse-eared bat found in North America. It has a small body size and glossy brown fur. It is similar in appearance to several other mouse-eared bats, including the Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, and the Arizona myotis, to which it is closely related.


The calcar, also known as the calcaneum, is the name given to a spur of cartilage arising from inner side of ankle and running along part of outer interfemoral membrane in bats. This is to help spread the interfemoral membrane, which is part of the wing membrane between the tail and the hind legs. Calcar (Femorale) also refers to the dense, vertically oriented bone present in the posteromedial region of the femoral shaft inferior to the lesser trochanter.

Antrozoini tribe of vesper bats

Antrozoini is a tribe of bats in the subfamily Vespertilioninae of the family Vespertilionidae. It includes at least the pallid bat, Van Gelder's bat, and the fossil Anzanycteris; some classifications also include the genera Rhogeessa and Baeodon.

Maluku myotis species of mammal

The Maluku myotis, also commonly known as the Arafura large-footed bat, is a species of mouse-eared bat. Native to Indonesia, and possibly New Guinea and northern Australia, it one of several species known as "fishing bats" because they catch their prey on the surface of water, scooping it up with their large feet.


  1. 1 2 Arroyo-Cabrales, J.; Ospina-Garces, S. (2016). "Myotis vivesi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . IUCN. 2016: e.T14209A22069146. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T14209A22069146.en . Retrieved 18 December 2017.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
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  15. Simmons, N.B. (2005). "Order Chiroptera". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 517–518. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
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