SUMMARY: Phyllostomidae (Sometimes called Phyllostomatidae)
Common Name
: American or New World Leaf-nosed Bats, Spear-nosed Bats
Taxonomy: Infraorder Yangochiroptera, Superfamily Phylostomoidea, 6 subfamilies, 48 genera, 148 species
Distribution: Tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, from southwest United States and the West Indies to northern Argentina
Fossil Record: Miocene and Pleistocene to recent in South America and Pleistocene to recent in West Indies and North America, earliest fossil record is mid Miocene (~22 million years ago)
Size Range: From fairly small to the largest New World bats (Vampyrum), head - body length ranges from 40 - 135 mm, tail absent or 4 - 55 mm, forearm 31 - 105 mm, 8 - 190 g.
Fur colour is variable - several species have 2 colour phases, one species is white (
Ectophylla alba), several species have white spinal or facial stripes.

The most diverse family of bats with regard to structural variation

A conspicuous leaflike (spear-shaped) structure is almost always present on the nose. These are the only New World bats possessing a nose leaf. Species in which the nose leaf is reduced or absent often have plate-like outgrowths on the lower lip (chin leaf). Tragus is present in all species.

Structural variability - tail and uroptagium (tail-membrane) - range from long to absent. Ears are usually narrow and pointed; may be connected by a band of tissue across the top of the head; greatly elongated in some genera. Tragus - variable thickness and notching. Dental formulae - most genera have 26 - 32 teeth, some have 34, 22, or 26. Skull morphology

This structural variation is likely due to the wide variety of foods exploited by this family (the most of any chiropteran family). Phyllostomids may be insectivores, carnivores, pollen feeders, nectar feeders, or frugivores.

The wings are typically broad; the elbow joint and forearm musculature are primitive and the forelimb is generalized (for a bat). This probably restricts phyllostomids to short periods of flight during foraging activity.

Known to roost in caves, culverts, trees, buildings or animal burrows

Some are solitary others are gregarious. In some species males and females remain together year-round. In some maternity colonies are formed. One (sometimes 2) young/birth

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