Bats are flying mammals in the order Chiroptera with forelimbs developed as wings. Other mammals, such as flying squirrels or gliding phalangers, can glide limited distances, but only bats are capable of true flight. The name Chiroptera can be translated as Hand Wing, as the structure of the open wing is very similar to an outspread human hand, covered in a membrane. Though the vast majority of bats are insectivorous, a significant number from both suborders, Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera (see below), have developed the ability to feed on fruits and their juices. Some of the smaller species are important pollinators of some tropical flowers. Indeed, many tropical plants are now found to be totally dependent on them, not just as pollinators, but eating the resulting fruits and so spreading their seeds. This role explains environmental concerns when an exotic bat is introduced in a new setting. Tenerife provides a recent and particularly interesting example here, given the island's unique fauna and flora (much of it, vestiges of the ancient continent of Gondwanaland). In this case, the exotic bat threatening native species is the Egyptian Bat (Roussettus aegyptiacus)













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Images 1 Through 10 Come From The US Fish & Wildlife Service
Images 11 And 12 Come From The National Parks Service













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