Bat wings are homologous structures because they bear structural similarity to the limbs of other organisms and analogous structures because of their functional similarity to other organisms' wings. Bat wings are also an example of convergent evolution.Continue Reading
Bats belong to the taxonomic order Chiroptera, which is a combination of the Greek words for hand and wing. Bat wings are homologous with other mammalian forelimbs, including the human arm and hand. This means that bat wings share structural similarities with the limbs of much more distantly related species. A bat's wing exhibits a humerus, radius, ulna, metacarpals and phalanges. In comparison to many other mammals, a bat has a smaller ulna, more rigid wrist and longer phalanges, and a membrane of skin covers the entire limb. The bat's wing membrane is an extension of the skin of the body and consists of both epidermal and dermal layers.
Bat wings are analogous to bird wings. Analogous structures exhibit similarities in function even though, structurally, they are quite different. While a bat's fingers provide support for the wing membrane, a bird's digits are fused together and support the feathers. Analogous structures arise due to convergent evolution. In convergent evolution, unrelated species evolve similar structures because they utilize like behaviors or fill similar niches.Learn more about Bats
Bat flying speeds vary by the species, but they can range from 12 mph up to 40 to 60 mph. The Mexican free-tailed bat is one of the fastest, flying at speeds up to 60 mph.Full Answer >
The average lifespan of a bat is 20 years. This is a longer lifespan than most rodents of comparable size, which generally survive only one to two years.Full Answer >
Bats are the only mammals that can fly, which has resulted in their anatomy evolving for speed, maneuverability and aerial hunting. The bones of the forelimbs all elongate, becoming greater farther from the body. The bones and muscles of the wing are arranged so that the wing is spread and closed by a single muscle, allowing the arms to be opened and closed very quickly and efficiently with little effort.Full Answer >
Common vampire bats are 3 to 3.5 inches long, with short reddish-orange or brown fur and small or no tails. They have short, blunt muzzles and pointed ears. The upper incisor teeth with which they pierce prey are razor-sharp. They have long, pointed wings and segmented thumbs on their forelimbs.Full Answer >