SUMMARY: Molossidae
Common Name
: Free-tailed and Mastiff Bats
Taxonomy: 16 genera, 86 species, 1 fossil genera
Distribution: Warmer parts of the world, southern Europe and Asia, most of Africa, Australia and Fiji Islands, Southern US through to South America (all but the tip)
Fossil Record:
Size Range: Body length: 40 - 130 mm, forearm length: 27 - 85 mm
Diet consists of insects, usually caught by aerial hawking.

The tail always projects beyond free end of tail membrane, tail membrane usually narrow, wings very long and narrow. Lips large, thick and in some genera the upper lip is wrinkled. The muzzle is broad and truncate. The snout projects beyond the lower lip. Nostrils are open, fleshy and sometimes raised, there is no noseleaf.

Ears are thick and leathery and often lie forward, obscuring most of face and eyes. In most species the ears are joined across the head and have a short tragus. Eyes are small. Very short velvety fur, usually brown, grey or black. Curved spoon-shaped hairs on the outer toes and sometimes on the muzzle.

Migratory, do not hibernate but may have short periods of winter torpor.

Cheiromeles (2 spp.) are nearly hairless and have pockets to keep folded wings in when at rest. Platymops (1 spp.), Neoplatymops (1 spp.) and Sauromys (1 spp.) have very flat skulls, good for hiding in tight crevices.

(from the books "Bats - A Natural History" and from "Walker's Bats of the World")