Furipteridae – Smoky bat

Known also as the thumbless bats – these bats have dark-gray fur and a thumb that is folded into their wing

While not as widely recognized as some other bat families, it presents a fascinating case study of the adaptability and ecological roles of neotropical bats. This family comprises two genera, each hosting a single species: the Smoky bat (Furipterus horrens) and the Schnabl’s Disk-winged bat (Amorphochilus schnablii). These species illustrate the incredible diversity and specialization found within the bat world, even within families containing a minimal number of species.

Found across Central and South America, Furipteridae bats thrive in a variety of environmental conditions, from lush lowland rainforests to the challenging climates of arid and desert regions. This adaptability is a testament to their evolutionary success and the broad range of ecological niches bats can occupy. Their ability to inhabit such diverse ecosystems underscores the importance of bats as resilient and versatile members of their ecological communities.

The roosting habits of these bats are particularly interesting. They favor caves and abandoned man-made structures, seeking out crevices that offer protection and seclusion. These roosting sites are crucial for their daily rest and serve as important social and breeding hubs. The colonies of Furipteridae bats, though modest in size compared to some other bat families, typically range from 100 to 400 individuals. The social structure within these colonies facilitates information sharing, mating, and communal care of offspring, showcasing the complex social behaviors that bats can exhibit.

These bats have specialized and efficient foraging behavior. They employ a low-flying hunting strategy, skimming close to the ground or vegetation to catch resting or unaware insects. This foraging method demonstrates their agility and precision in flight, allowing them to navigate through dense vegetation or near the ground’s surface where other predators may be less adept.