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Image: Little brown bat
Little brown bat

What is a chiropteran?

Chiropteran is another name for bat.

The name comes from two ancient Greek words: CHIRO (hand) and PTERON (wing).

This means that bats fly with their hands.

Image: Batís wing and human arm
Batís wing and human arm

The same bones

If you compared the bones in a batís wing with those in a human arm, you would see that the tip of the batís wing is actually very much like a hand.

Except for the thumb, the metacarpal and phalangeal bones on the other four fingers are elongated.

A membrane made of two layers of skin, blood vessels and muscle fibres covers the entire wing skeleton.

Image: Birdís wing and human arm
Birdís wing and human arm

The same bones

If you look closely at a birdís wing, youíll see that the metacarpi and phalanges are much shorter, and even fused. Birds fly with their ďarmsĒ more than their ďhands.Ē

To fly, a bat doesnít beat its wings up and down as most birds do, but rather moves them as you would move your arms when swimming the butterfly stroke.

Image: Flying

Not just for flying

Batsí wings have several functions.

They use them for flying, of course.

Image: Keeping warm
Keeping warm

Not just for flying

They also use them to keep themselves warm.

Image: Cooling off
Cooling off

Not just for flying

And to cool themselves off, as well.

For more information:
Chiroptera | Quebec Network of Acoustic Bat Inventories | Descriptive records

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