Definitions of Habitat Types

The terrestrial habitat types used by this database are listed below and are the standard terms used in the IUCN Red List Habitats Authority File (Version 3.0). For more information please see IUCN Habitats Classification Scheme

It is acknowledged that the classification scheme used here may not be entirely satisfactory, but it provides a standardization of habitat types for analytical purposes.

This database only report data as it is published and does not make changes or evaluates accuracy of the species accounts.

  1. Forest: Forest consists of a continuous stand of trees and includes both forested areas (generally with a closed canopy) and wooded areas (canopy more open but see savanna below). It includes primary forest, secondary forest, forest edge, temperate forest, subtropical/tropical dry forest, subtropical/tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical/tropical mangrove, subtropical/tropical swamp, and subtropical/tropical moist mountain forest.
  2. Savanna: Savannas are ecosystems dominated by a grass ground cover with an overstory of widely spaced trees. May be referred to as savanna woodlands, savanna parklands, savanna grasslands, low tree/shrub savannas, thicket/scrub savannas. It includes dry savanna and moist savanna.
  3. Shrubland: Also referred to as scrub, bushland and thicket. It includes temperate shrubland, subtropical/tropical dry & moist shrubland, subtropical/tropical high altitude shrubland, and mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation.
  4. Grassland: Grasslands occur in regions with warm growing seasons and moderate water shortages. Native grasslands are comprised of grasses and broadleaved herbaceous plants, and are either without woody plants, or the latter are very sparsely distributed. It includes temperate grasslands, subtropical/tropical dry lowland grasslands, subtropical/tropical seasonally flooded grasslands, and subtropical/tropical seasonally high altitude grassland.
  5. Wetlands (Inland): Wetlands correspond to the wetland types recognised by Ramsar. Includes only inland waters – other types are not covered by this database.
  6. Rocky Areas: Includes inland cliffs, mountain peaks, talus, feldmark.
  7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (Non-aquatic): Underground spaces produced naturally by the weathering of rock. Can extend deep underground, or can be much smaller rock.
    (Used only when interaction took place in cave or if landscape is dominated by caves. Ex. Fecal samples collected from cave roost floor were the result of interactions in the surrounding forest.)
  8. Desert: Desert consists of arid landscapes with a sparse plant cover, except in depressions where water accumulates. The sandy, stony or rocky substrate contributes more to the appearance of the landscape than does the vegetation. It includes hot desert, temperate desert, and cold desert.
  9. Artificial landscapes: Consists of human-made landscapes, such as agricultural land, suburban and urban areas.
  10. Captivity: Refers to bats that are in enclosed facilities under human care long-term.

Definitions of Interaction Types

This database only contains accounts of bats interacting with other organisms and not hypotheses that they might (e.g. a flower has chiropterophilious features). We report what is published and do not assume that every visit to a flower results in pollination or that every fruit eaten results in seed dispersal. We do assume that every object that is consumed is destroyed in the process.

Interactions are witnessed by the author(s) or recorded via photo, video, or bat detector. In order to distinguish between interaction types, additional confirmation from evidence in fecal samples, stomachs, exclusion experiments, etc., may be necessary.  If the author(s) cite an interaction from another publication, it is tagged as “secondary”.

  • Cohabitation: The bat is witnessed, recorded, or photographed to be sharing a living space with the object taxon.
  • Consumption: The bat is witnessed deliberately eating the plant or fungus, or fragments are identified in pellets under roosts. Tags are used to specify the part of the object taxon consumed.
  • Hematophagy: The bat deliberately consumes the blood of a bird or mammal without consuming the flesh other than what may be unintentionally ingested at the site of blood consumption.
  • Host: The bat functions as the host (parasitic, mutualistic, or commensal) of the:
    • Arthropod, usually as an ectoparasite in the fur or embedded in the skin around the ears and nose.
    • Fungus, Virus, or Bacteria, either internally or externally. (Coming soon: Worm, or other parasite in Kingdoms Protozoa or Chromista.)
  • Pollination: The bat visits a flower and makes contact with the reproductive parts (anthers and stigma), collecting and depositing pollen on the stigma, often resulting in fertilization and development of fruit/seeds.
  • Predation: The bat deliberately consumes the object taxon (Arthropod, Bird, Mammal, Reptile, Amphibian, or Fish) in the air, on a surface, or in the water. (Coming soon: bat predation of other bat species.)
  • Prey: The bat is deliberately consumed from the air, on a surface, or in the water by the object taxon (Arthropod, Bird, Mammal, Reptile, Amphibian, or Fish. Coming soon: Bat.)
  • Roost: The bat uses the leaf or other part of the plant as a day or night roost. These can be roosts in foliage (used opportunistically or “tent” created by the bat), in tree cavities, under exfoliating bark, out in the open on tree trunks, boles, or branches, under fallen logs, inside the “pitchers” of Nepenthes, or other plant structure.
  • Seed Dispersal: The bat removes fruit/seed (diaspore) from the parent plant and deposits seeds in a new location without harming them.
    • Endozoochorous (diaspore is ingested and passed unharmed through the digestive tract),
    • Epizoochorous (diaspore sticks to the skin, feathers, or fur via barbs, hooks, or viscid surface), or
    • Stomatochorous (diaspore is deliberately carried away by an animal and dropped with viable seeds after the edible parts are consumed)
  • Transport: The bat acts as a transport agent of the object taxon:
    • Arthropod, e.g, flower mites moving from one plant to another.
    • Bryophyte fragments carried internally or externally after contact with the parent bryophyte, which are then able to reproduce asexually via fragmentation in a new location.
  • Visitation: The bat is observed interacting with a flower to collect nectar or pollen, but it is not confirmed that it has come into contact with the flower’s reproductive parts. Pollen may be found on fur, in feces or stomach, but deposition on another flower isn’t confirmed.