Types of Bats - Old and New World Fruit Bats and the False Vampires
All the terms for the different types of bats can get a bit confusing at times. What are Old World Fruit bats? And why are some bats called False Vampires?
If you've just come from the
page, you'll have read that this is the order that bats belong to. It's split into 2 sub orders, megachiroptera (big hand-wing) and microchiroptera (small hand-wing), and these are further divided into 18 bat families.
Megachiroptera only has one family in it, the Pteropodidae, also known as the Old World Fruit bats. These are found in Africa and Asia as well as in Australia and include species such as the Giant Golden Crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus).
Their new world counterparts can be found in Latin America, the Carribean and some parts of California. Whilst they feed mainly on fruit, nectar and/or pollen some members of this bat grouping, like the Jamaican Fruit bat (Artibeus jamaicensis) will eat other things too like insects.
New world fruit bats have been placed in the microchiroptera sub-order and you'll also find here, a bat family called megadermatidae, also known as the False Vampires. But why such a strange name?
People used to think that they were blood-feeders or
but they actually feed on insects and other small animals like rodents and fish. The Ghost bat, also known as the Giant false vampire bat (Macroderma gigas), which is found only in Australia, is a false vampire that eats a wide range of animals, including insects other bats.
Despite their name, according to Bat Conservation International, these types of bats have a very gentle side to their nature. And they can also be very trusting. Merlin Tuttle, the founder of BCI, was able to get a Ghost bat to perch on his finger within the space of one evening.
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