Western nectar bat (Lonchophylla hesperia)

Western nectar bat
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Western nectar bat fact file

Western nectar bat description

GenusLonchophylla (1)

With only ten individuals having ever been studied, the western nectar bat (Lonchophylla hesperia) is a little-known, enigmatic species (1). The western nectar bat has pale brown fur on the upperparts and pale brown to grey fur on the underparts (3). Its tail is short and the noseleaf is high and narrow (2).

As its name suggests, the western nectar bat feeds predominantly on nectar, and possesses a number of adaptations to this diet (4), including an elongated muzzle and a very long tongue. The tongue is covered with grooves bordered by small, hair-like protrusions (2) (5), and wave-like muscle contractions move the nectar along the grooves, enabling the western nectar bat to feed without lapping (6).

Head-body length: 45 - 65 mm (2)
Tail length: 7 - 10 mm (2)

Western nectar bat biology

Bats of the Lonchophylla genusare specialised for feeding on nectar and pollen and, as a result, play an important role in pollinating the plants they feed upon (3). Although other Lonchophylla batsalso consume insects and fruit (3), the little information available on the western nectar bat suggests that it does not eat fruit (1).

Currently nothing is known about the breeding biology of this elusive bat.


Western nectar bat range

The western nectar bat occurs in north-western Peru and south-western Ecuador (1).


Western nectar bat habitat

The western nectar bat has been found in dry habitats (7).


Western nectar bat status

The western nectar bat is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened


Western nectar bat threats

The greatest threat to the western nectar bat is the destruction of suitable habitat, primarily due to conversion to agriculture (1).


Western nectar bat conservation

A number of protected areas in Peru are known to harbour populations of the western nectar bat (1), including the National Park Cerros de Amotape (8), but there are currently no known specific measures in place for this little-known species.


Find out more

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This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
A fleshy structure that surrounds the nose, common to many bats.
Transferring pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
  2. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  3. Eisenberg, J.F. (1989) Mammals of the Neotropics. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  4. Dávalos, L.M. (2004) A new Choacan species of Lonchophylla (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). AmericanMuseumNovitates, 3426: 1-14.
  5. Gardner, A.L. (Ed.) (2007) Mammals of South America. The University Chicago Press, Chicago.
  6. Winter, Y. and von Helverson, O. (2003) Operational tongue length in Phyllostomid nectar-feeding bats. Journal of Mammalogy, 84(2): 886-896.
  7. Albuja, L.V. and Gardner, A.L. (2005) A new species Lonchophylla Thomas (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) from Ecuador. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 118(2): 442-449.
  8. Aris, E., Cadenillas, R. and Pacheco, V. (2009) Dieta de murciélagos nectarívoros del Parque Nacional Cerros de Amotape, Tumbes. Revista Peruana de Biología, 16(2): 187-190.

Image credit

Western nectar bat  
Western nectar bat

© Richard Cadenillas

Richard Cadenillas
Dp. Mastozoología, Museo de Historia Natural,
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos,
Av. Arenales 1256 Jesus Maria


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