Common Name
Fringe-lipped Bat
Family
Phyllostomidae
Genus
Trachops
Species
cirrhosus

Pronunciation: tray-cops sir-hoh-sus

Conservation Status: Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

Diet: Carnivore

Fun Fact: Also called frog-eating bats, one of the Fringe-lipped Bats’ favorite snacks are Tungara frogs. They locate these frogs by listening for the sound of calling male frogs, and can use their echolocation to detect the water ripples surrounding the frogs (even after the frogs have stopped calling).

The Fringe-lipped Bat is found in lowland to mid-elevation (1,400 meters above sea level) tropical forests from southern Mexico through southeastern Brazil. Colonies of this bat tend to be small (usually less than 10 individual), and they will often roost with other species. Common roost sites include hollow trees, caves, road culverts, and buildings.

The Fringe-lipped Bat is named for the wart-like bumps on its lips and muzzle that may be used to secrete toxin-neutralizing factors from the skin of the frogs they eat. They have large ears, long, woolly fur and a serrated nose-leaf. One of the most well studied populations of this bat is in Panama, where individuals appear to specialize on frogs as a food source. However, these bats will also consume large insects (such as beetles and katydids), small lizards, and possibly even other bats.

The social structure of the Fringe-lipped Bat is still unknown. Males have been observed with an orange forearm “crust”, which they appear to build through unique grooming and clawing behaviors. This crust also has a distinctive smell, and might be used as a signal to indicate body condition to female bats.

Staff Pick: Dr. Amanda Adams, Conservation Research Program Manager

Literature Cited
Cramer, M., Willig, M.,& Jones, C. (2001). Trachops cirrhosus. Mammalian Species,656. 1-6. 10.2307/3504351.

Flores, V., & Page, R. A. (2017). Novel odorous crust on the forearm of reproductive male fringe-lipped bats (Trachops cirrhosus). Journal of Mammalogy, 98(6), 1568-1577.

Halfwerk, W., Jones, P. L., Taylor, R. C., Ryan, M. J., & Page, R. A. (2014). Risky ripples allow bats and frogs to eavesdrop on a multisensory sexual display. Science, 343(6169), 413-416.

Tandler, B., Phillips, C. J., Nagato, T. (1996) Histological convergent evolution of the accessory submandibular glands in four species of frog-eating bats. European Journal of Morphology, 34(3):163-168. DOI: 10.1076/ejom.34.3.163.13028.

Approximate Range