Molossus molossus molossus, the velvety free-tailed bat, ranges from Mexico to Argentina including the Caribbean islands, also occurring in the Florida Keys. One of the most common members of the clade Molossidae, these bats are commonly encountered in attics and thatched roofs throughout their range (their natural roost sites are in tree hollows). Like other members of Molossidae, mastiff bats are characterized by high-aspect-ratio wings – wings that are very long and narrow. This wing morphology facilitates very fast, efficient flight. However, it makes it very difficult for these bats to take off from a flat surface. If you capture one and hold it on the palm of your hand, it cannot fly away. Rather, these bats must drop or jump from a height to gain enough speed to start flying.
About the Species
This whole gravid preserved specimen of Molossus molossus (AMNH 149261) is part of the American Museum of Natural History Mammalogy Collection. The specimen was made available to the High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Dr. Nancy Simmons of the American Museum of Natural History. Funding for scanning was provided by a National Science Foundation grant (DEB-9873663) to Dr. Simmons, and funding for scanning and image processing was provided by a National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Timothy Rowe of the Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin.
About this Specimen
The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 16 January 2003 along the coronal axis for a total of 270 slices, each slice 0.013 mm thick with an interslice spacing of 0.0117 mm.