A study of the first behavioral observations of a bat-faced bat in situ published in the journal PLOS One revealed an unusual court marriage ceremony. Males have a built-in mask made of extra skin that they lessen before intercourse.
If you think you’ve been unfairly harmed by being told to wear a mask while dating in an epidemic, think a little about this compressed bat.
Males have extra skin folds on the face, which are absent in females, under which the olfactory glands sit. Despite sitting in the “leaf-knuckled” bat family, they have some mixed identities, they have no leaf noses. They eat a lot of fruit without being fruit bats. Centurio senex is an elusive species found in Mexican, Central America, and North-South America. Their characteristic scratch-up faces are the result of skin folds and flaps on their faces.
Seen among birds, seals, and some hoofed mammals, they use a lake to perform mating ceremonies, which see females select mates from a group of competing males. Once the sitter is selected, the man flaps his wings and pulls out a high, low-frequency whistle that is probably a toast to his own success. Then, as soon as the magic moment came, she took off the mask of her skin shaking and began intercourse. After the romantic face-off, the men again sing with enthusiasm before the mask. Imagine a similar face-to-face game going on between different domestic couples throughout the year.
The authors’ searches followed an analysis of synchronized audio and video recordings of a group of men across 53 perches in Costa Rica in six weeks. This new study identifies the first observations related to the echolocation and mating behavior of Centurio senex. They are hopeful that a future confrontation with Centurio senex could eventually close the gaps that exist in one of Neotropics iconic bat records, although they will not completely snatch these masked romances from the air of their mystery.