Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat
(Artibeus jamaicensis)

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Physical characteristics and distribution

A. jamaicensis is one of the largest of the fourteen species of Artibeus. The largest is A. lituratus with a head and body length of 87-100mm, a forearm length of 64-76 mm, and weight of approximately 44-87 grams. The smallest is A. phaeotis which has a head and body length of about 53 mm, a forearm length of 35-38 mm and weight of approximately 10 grams. The interfemoral membrane is narrow and lacks an external tail. Coloration of the short, velvety fur ranges from dull brown, gray or black with a silvery tinge. Underparts are usually paler. There are four whitish facial stripes present, but no light dorsal line.

Preferred roosting sites have a moist environment with open areas, and are often found in houses. In the Yucatan Peninsula, A. jamaicensis roosts in caves, cenotes, and buildings. Some species have been known to modify palm fronds by biting along the midrib of the leaf and folding it down to make a tentlike structure.

A. jamaicensis is primarily frugiverous, but also feeds on pollen, nectar, flower parts and insects. Favorite fruits are figs, mangoes, avocados, bananas, espave nuts and the pulpy layer surrounding the seeds of the Acrocomia palms. Because food passes through the digestive tract of A. jamaicensis so quickly (within 15-20 minutes), little or no bacterial action occurs. Thus the bat is an important disseminator of the tropical fruit seeds on which it feeds.

Social organization of this species is thought to be a harem structure, but females often discreetly form maternity colonies, remaining until the young are weaned. Pregnant or lactating females have been found throughout the year in various parts of A. jamaicensis' range.

A. jamaicensis is found in Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas (Mexico) to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, N Argentina and E Brazil,
Trinidad and Tobago; Greater and Lesser Antilles, S Bahamas and perhaps the Florida Keys.

Description of the brain

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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