Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Microchiroptera Morphology

  • Nathália Siqueira Veríssimo LouzadaEmail author
  • Anne Caruliny do Monte Lima
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1176-1


The name Chiroptera is derived from the Greek words cheir (=hand) and pteron (=wing), referring to the hand-like wings of bats, the primary adaptation for flight (Feldhamer et al. 2007). The wing is formed from skin (patagium) stretched between the arm, wrist, and finger bones, which are light and slender. The forearm (radius and ulna), metacarpals, and fingers are elongated and, with the patagium, they form a structure that is “strong like an umbrella” (Neuweiler 2000). The thumb remains free and is the only digit that retains a claw in extant microbats. The wing membranes usually attach along the sides of the body and, besides their primary function in flight, they also aid bats in thermoregulation – the thin, vascularized membranes dissipate excess body heat generated during flight (Feldhamer et al. 2007).

Many skeletal features are associated with a need for strong or specialized attachments for the powerful flight musculature, which has influenced the architecture of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathália Siqueira Veríssimo Louzada
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne Caruliny do Monte Lima
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marieke Cassia Gartner
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoo AtlantaAtlantaUSA