from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A large, reddish-brown insectivorous bat of the genus Nyctalus, found in Eurasia, Indonesia, and the Philippines and typically dwelling in the hollows of trees.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A bat, of the genus Nyctalus, that lives in tree hollows.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A large European bat (Vespertilio altivolans syn. Noctulina altivolans).
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A bat of the genus Noctilio or family Noctilionidæ.
- n. Vespertilio or Vesperugo noctula, the largest British species of bat, being nearly 3 inches long without the tail, which is fully 1½ inches.
In 2001, Carlos Ibáñez and his colleagues at the Doñana Biological Station in Seville, Spain, suggested that the giant noctule bat (Nyctalus lasiopterus), a rare European species occurring principally in the Mediterranean, may feed to a large extent on birds (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98, 9700-9702).
To elucidate the mysterious habits of giant noctule bats, an ambitious investigation led by young scientist Ana Popa-Lisseanu, under Prof. Ibañez 'supervision, was launched by Spanish research teams based in Sevilla (Doñana Biological Station) and Granada (Zaidín Experimental Station) thanks to funding from the Spanish Environmental Ministry.
The unique ecological niche of the giant noctule may in turn explain some of its peculiar natural history traits.
In the case of giant noctule bats, it was for sure the description by Ibañez et al. (2001) of a so far totally unrecognized, outstanding predator-prey relationship that triggered so much initial scepticism.
The extraordinary predatory specialization of the giant noctule may be shared by the few other big aerial-hawking bat species which exist elsewhere in the world.
They eat relatively large prey, being particularly fond of beetles, and Nowak (1999) mentions a remarkable case where a Eurasian noctule (N. noctula) was observed to catch and eat mice.
The excellent Greater noctule photo used above is from the Slovak Academy of Science site.
Carnivory in the greater noctule bat (Nyctalus lasiopterus) in Italy.
Greater noctule wing morphology indicates fast flight in open areas, as they have high wing loading and high aspect ratios.
A contribution to debate on Great noctule carnivory.