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Flight Speeds and Mechanical Power Outputs of the Nectar-Feeding Bat, Leptonycteris curasoae (Phyllostomidae: Glossophaginae)

Catherine T. Sahley, Margaret A. Horner and Theodore H. Fleming
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 74, No. 3 (Aug., 1993), pp. 594-600
DOI: 10.2307/1382278
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1382278
Page Count: 7
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Flight Speeds and Mechanical Power Outputs of the Nectar-Feeding Bat, Leptonycteris curasoae (Phyllostomidae: Glossophaginae)
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Abstract

We measured flight speeds of the nectar-feeding bat, Leptonycteris curasoae, during their nightly commuting flights of 25-30 km. We estimated mechanical power outputs for the flights by using an aerodynamic model and tested predicted flight speeds generated by the model against actual flight speeds observed. Bats flew an average of 27.2 km during one-way commutes to their foraging areas at a mean air speed of 8.2 m/s. Flight speeds observed in bats making commuting flights conformed to predictions generated by aerodynamic theory, and were similar to those previously reported for birds. We suggest that certain morphological attributes exhibited by L. curasoae, such as a relatively large body size and high wing loading, may be adaptations for flying long distances in desert habitats.

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