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Sticking ability in Spix's disk-winged bat, Thyroptera tricolor (Microchiroptera: Thyropteridae)

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Roosting Spix's disk-winged bats, Thyroptera tricolor, use disks on their wrists and ankles to cling to smooth leaves. In 584 trials we tested the ability of 31 T. tricolor and 121 other bats lacking disks (461 trials with 18 species from three families) to adhere to (i) medium-grade sandpaper, (ii) Lexan polycarbonate, (iii) solid sheet aluminum, and (iv) porous sheet aluminum. While T. tricolor readily adhered to smooth surfaces, the other species did not. Thyroptera tricolor did not show the same ability to adhere to rough surfaces as the other species that were tested. As was demonstrated by their performance on porous aluminum and sandpaper, the disks of T. tricolor worked by suction and sometimes by wet adhesion. In the course of adapting to adhere to smooth surfaces, T. tricolor appear to have lost some ability to roost on rough ones, although one adult T. tricolor climbed on a screen covering the inside walls of the polycarbonate cage by interlocking its thumb claws with the surface.

Pour se percher, les chauves-souris Thyroptera tricolor s'aident des ventouses qu'elles portent aux poignets et aux chevilles pour s'agripper à des feuilles lisses. Au cours de 584 essais, nous avons mesuré la capacité de 31 T. tricolor et de 121 autres chauves-souris sans ventouses (461 tests : 18 espèces à trois familles) de s'agripper à (i) du papier de verre de grain moyen, (ii) du polycarbonate Lexan, (iii) de l'aluminium en feuilles pleines et (iv) de l'aluminium en feuilles poreuses. Thyroptera tricolor s'accroche facilement à des surfaces lisses, alors que les autres espèces ne le peuvent pas. En revanche, T. tricolor semble moins habile que les autres espèces à s'agripper aux surfaces rugueuses. Comme le démontre leur performance sur de l'aluminium poreux et sur du papier de verre, les ventouses de T. tricolor collent par succion et parfois par adhésion humide. En s'adaptant à se coller aux surfaces lisses, T. tricolor semble avoir perdu de sa capacité de se percher sur des surfaces rugueuses, bien qu'un adulte ait été observé grimpant sur du grillage en entrecroisant les griffes de ses pouces avec la surface.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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