Do you still think that bats are the only mammals that fly? Then you will like to know that there are more species of this type. Specifically, we can divide them for their classification in a simple way between those of active flight and those of passive flight. If you are interested in curiosities about animals, surely you like to know more about the world of these species, since they are a very special small group within the class of vertebrates called Mammalia .
What are flying mammalian animals: definition and taxonomy
One of the best ways to classify mammalian animals to study them is according to their adaptation to the environment, that is, according to their way of moving and the environment in which they inhabit. Based on this idea, we can classify mammals into land mammals (they live on land), marine mammals (they live in the sea) and flying mammals (they live in the air and trees).
Thus, as a definition of flying mammalian animals , we can say that they are considered a group of species of mammalian animals that can fly and glide in the air to move. This group is really small compared to others and it is also very special due to its unique characteristics.
The most widely used taxonomy of flying mammalian animals is as follows:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Edge: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Orders: Chiroptera, Dermoptera, Rodentia, Diprotodontia
- Families within Rodentia : Sciuridae or Squirrels, in which there is the Pteromyini tribe , and Anomaluridae, in which there is the Idiurus genus
- Family within Diprotodontia : Petauridae
That which we have commented at the beginning, that the bat is the only flying mammal , actually has part of the truth or, depending on how we interpret it, even it is entirely. The truth is that flying mammalian animals can be classified into two groups according to their way of moving through the air :
- Active flight flying mammalian animals: these are those that fly with wings in the same way, or very similar, to how birds do. In fact, they have perfectly designed membranes and wing bones to be able to flap and fly in any direction they want. In this group, really, only bats or chiroptera (of the order Chiroptera) enter , of which there are a great variety of species.
- Passive flight flying mammalian animals: in this second group is where we find more variety of orders. These are mammals that can glide in the air , which is not exactly the same as flying. These animals have membranes that go from their front to rear extremities and that allow them to stop the fall in full jump and glide to go where they want, so they can go down but not go up. There is a lot of variety here, as we find very different species among them, such as megabats or flying foxes, such as the fox or fruit bat, even the gliders (which are one of the rarest animals in Australia ), the flying squirrels and the flying mice.
- Super Family Emballonuroidea: Family Emballonuridae and Family Nycteridae.
- Super Family Noctilionoidea: Family Furipteridae, Family Mormoopidae, Family Mystacinidae, Family Myzopodidae, Family Noctilionidae, Family Phyllostomida and Family Thyropteridae.
- Super Family Rhinolophoidea: Family Craseonycteridae, Family Hipposideridae, Family Megadermatidae, Family Rhinolophidae and Family Rhinopomatidae.
- Super Family Vespertilionoidea: Family Cistugidae, Family Miniopteridae, Family Molossidae, Family Natalidae and Family Vespertilionidae.
Flying squirrel species
- Pteromys volans
- Glaucomys volans
Flying mouse species
- Idiurus macrotis
- Diurus zenkeri
- Petaurus abidi
- Petaurus norfolcensis
- Petaurus australis
- Petaurus gracilis
- Petaurus biacensis
- Petaurus breviceps
To finish, these are some interesting facts about flying mammalian animals :
- The world’s smallest flying mammalian animal is Kitti’s pig-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai). Its length is 2.9 to 3.3 centimeters and its weight is 2 grams maximum. In fact, it is considered the smallest mammal in the world.
- Flying fox from the Philippines, as it has a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters, that is, it measures eight feet from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other wing.
- As we have seen, only bats actively fly and the rest are gliders.
- Some areas are guided mainly by ultrasound, as they have an echolocation system. being totally or partially blind and deaf.
- Some are also marsupials.
- The oldest flying mammal discovered is the Volaticotherium antiquus , a long-extinct glider.