Abstract

Selected aspects of the morphology of bats of the family Molossidae are described and the functional significance of these features are discussed. The structure and proportions of the ears and the wings are considered to reflect primarily the rapid enduring flight typical of molossids. Comparisons of some characteristics of the wings of three molossids and of four bats of the family Vespertilionidae were made, and several aerodynamic relationships were applied to a consideration of the styles and speeds of flight of these bats. Molossid bats in general seem adapted to fast flight in open areas, whereas the vespertilionids studied are apparently suited to slower flight fairly low to the ground, near vegetation and other obstacles.

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