(cohort Unguiculata, order Chiroptera)
A suborder of bats that orientate themselves and locate prey principally by means of echo-location, aided by large, specialized ears and in many species by modifications of the nose which serve to beam the sound emissions. Typically, microchiropterans are insectivorous, but many have adapted to diets of fruit, fish, flesh, nectar, or blood, and although the suborder has a world-wide distribution many families within it have a very restricted range. In some families implantation is delayed until the spring following autumn copulation. Gestation is from 50 days to eight months, and the young of some species do not fly until they are 10 weeks old. Microchiropterans are known to have lived in the Palaeocene and today they are among the most successful of all mammal groups. There are about 18 families, with some 700 species in all.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.