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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Large-footed Myotis

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7

Fig 8

Fig 9


Family : Vespertilionidae
Species : Myotis spp. 

Forearm Length : 3.5-4.3 cm
Weight : 5.0-12.5 grams

A number of species of Myotis possess enlarged or modified feet which appear to have evolved to pluck insects and small fish from the surface of water bodies including lakes, ponds, large rivers,  small streams and mangrove inlets.

These bats are most easily observed at dusk as they patrol the margins of water bodies, generally flying less than one metre above the water's surface. Small flying insects often emerge at this time, and these bats take full advantage of abundant prey to feed intensively at dusk before dispersing.

Roosts are typically located near the water's edge - in caves, rock crevices and possibly treeholes. Some species have adapted to roost in the shelter of man-made structures such as low bridges, covered drains and road culverts.

Two examples of Large-footed Myotis are shown here: based on known distributions, tentatively these two species might be Horsfield's Myotis  (Myotis horsfieldii) and Hasselt's Myotis (Myotis hasseltii).

Francis (2008) lists 6 species of Large-footed Myotis present on the mainland of Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore). Other species inhabit insular Southeast Asia (Philippines, Indonesia etc.).

Fig 1 : An adult Large-footed Myotis with a youngster clinging to its back. They have grey to olive-grey fur on their back and sides, and light grey to white fur on the belly.

Figs 2 and 3 : Examples patrolling a slow-flowing river at dusk. Their mouths are open as they emit an echolocation signal.

Fig 4 : Close-up of the head and pointed snout.

Fig 5 : Roosting group in a man-made drainage tunnel; these examples have medium brown fur on their back and sides, and buff fur on the belly.

Fig 6 : Close-up of the large foot, long toes and sharp claws; the wing is attached near the ankle.

Fig 7 : Rear view of a bat in flight, showing the tail which is fully enclosed in the interfemoral membrane.

Fig 8 : Example leaving its roost at dusk.

Fig 9 : Example from Lower Peirce, Singapore. 

All photos from Singapore. 

References : M3, M5, M6