Insular single leaf bat (Monophyllus plethodon)

Male insular single leaf bat
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Insular single leaf bat fact file

Insular single leaf bat description

GenusMonophyllus (1)

This brown to pale-buff coloured bat (3) has a small heart-shaped noseleaf and a very long snout and tongue (2). The species belongs to the glossophagine subfamily, which all have small bristles at the end of their tongues that help them to lap up nectar from the depths of flowers. This taxon also has a series of bristle-like whiskers that surround the end of their muzzle, which are particularly sensitive and help the bat to correctly position its snout within flowers when drinking (2).

Also known as
long-tongued bat.
Head-and-body length: 60 – 70 mm
Wingspan: c. 300 mm
12 – 17 g (2)

Insular single leaf bat biology

Very little is understood about the social and reproductive behaviour of the insular single leaf bat (2). Females are known to give birth to single young, and pregnant individuals have been observed in January, March, April and July (2) (3).

These nocturnal bats primarily feed on nectar, acting as pollinating agents in the process, but they also eat small fruits, with Piper plants being distinctly favoured (Piper spp.). The species has also been seen catching insects, and may rely heavily on insects during periods of drought when flowers and small fruits are sparse (2).


Insular single leaf bat range

The insular single leaf bat is found in Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles (2), on the islands of Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1) (3).


Insular single leaf bat habitat

Specimens have been collected from a variety of habitats, including moist wooded ravines, dense rainforest and fruit plantations (2) (3). These bats roost in caves, which they sometimes share with other bat species (2).


Insular single leaf bat status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Insular single leaf bat threats

The threats to this species are unknown.


Insular single leaf bat conservation

There are currently no known conservation measures targeting this species.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.


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:


Active at night.


  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
  2. BATHEAD: Short Guide to the Bats of the Northern Lesser Antilles (May, 2006)
  3. Homan, J.A. and Knox Jones, J. (1975) Monophyllus plethodon. Mammalian Species, 58: 1 - 2.

Image credit

Male insular single leaf bat  
Male insular single leaf bat

© Karl Questel / Association ALSOPHIS

Karl Questel


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