Fish and amphibians as bat predators

Open access


Although bats (Chiroptera) belong to the most diverse mammalian orders, study of diversity of their natural predators has been seriously neglected for a long time. While some recent reviews contain comprehensive overviews of our recent knowledge on these phenomena for some animal groups, such work is still lacking for anamniotes - fishes and amphibians. Here, I am summarising bat predation incidences by anamniotes that were published in scientific journals and public web domains. I found out that at least 14 species of fishes and 14 species of frogs were observed as feeding on bats. Moreover, 7 and 16 species of bats were recorded as victims of hunting activity of fishes and frogs, respectively. Majority of localised incidences came from the New World; frog (between latitude 49°N to 28°S) attacks were distributed mainly in tropical or subtropical areas < 30° from equator (70% of all records), fish (44°N to 20°S) incidences reach same proportion in colder areas (> 30° from equator) and warmer areas. In some cases, these predators can regularly feed on bats, especially when hunting near roosting places of bats; however, with respect to number of recorded cases (21 for fishes and 37 for amphibians), bat predation by anamniotes seems to be very rare and opportunistic with only very limited influence on bat populations or their behaviour.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Allen G.M. (1940) Bats. The Harvard University Press Cambridge.

  • AmphibiaWeb (2015a) Information on Amphibian Biology and Conservation. Retrieved from (accessed 29 September 2015).

  • AmphibiaWeb (2015b) Worldwide amphibian declines: How big is the problem what are the causes and what can be done? Retrieved from (accessed 9 October 2015).

  • Arrington D.A. & Arrington J.L. (2000) Hyla boans (rusty tree frog). Diet. Herpetological Review 31 170.

  • Barbour R.W. & Davis W.H. (1974) Mammals of Kentucky (Vol. 5). University Press of Kentucky Lexington.

  • Bierly C. (1998) Photo Gallery. Retrieved from http://www.sitesalive. com/rl98s/private/gallery/web.htm (accessed 8 October 2015).

  • Borell A.E. & Ellis R. (1934) Mammals of the Ruby Mountains region of north-eastern Nevada. Journal of Mammalogy 15 12-44.

  • Börk K.S. (2006) Lunar phobia in the greater fishing bat Noctilio leporinus (Chiroptera: Noctilionidae). International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 54 1117-1123.

  • Castro I.J.D. Silva C.R. Costa A.J.S.D. & Martins A.C.M. (2011) Opportunistic predation of Artibeus planirostris (Spix 1823) and Carollia perspicillata (Linnaeus 1758) (Chiroptera Phyllostomidae) by marsupials and anuran in the APA do Rio Curiaú Amapá State Brazil. Acta Amazonica 41 171-174.

  • Cray (2007) Green tree frog eats bat. Retrieved from https://aussiepythons. com/forum/showthread.php/59303-Green-Tree-Frogeats- Bat (accessed 22 September 2015).

  • Creel G.С. (1963) Bats as a food item of Rana pipìens. Texas Journal of Science 15 104-106.

  • da Silva L.A.M. dos Santos E.M. & de Amorim F.O. (2010) Predação oportunística de Molossus molossus (Pallas 1766) (Chiroptera: Molossidae) por Rhinella jimi (Stevaux 2002) (Anura: Bufonidae) na Caatinga Pernambuco Brasil. Biotemas 23 215-218.

  • Davis N. (n.d.) Frog eats bat. Retrieved from http://www.natgeotv. (accessed 29 September 2015).

  • de la Torre J.A. & Medellín R.A. (2010) Pteronotus personatus (Chiroptera: Mormoopidae). Mammalian Species 42 244-250.

  • Dean L. (2008) What’s for lunch? Retrieved from fieldnotes/regmap.cfm?arskey=24229 (accessed 24 September 2015).

  • Denisova Е.В. (2004) Позвоночные как естественные враги руко- крылых. [Vertebrates as enemies of bats]. Scientific notes of Taurida National V.I. Vernadsky University Series “Biology and Chemistry” 17 212-215.

  • Esbérard C.E. & Vrcibradic D. (2007) Snakes preying on bats: New records from Brazil and a review of recorded cases in the Neotropical Region. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 24 848-853.

  • Esbérard C.E.L. Jordão T. Costa L.M. & Bergallo H.G. (2006) Leptodactylus labyrinthicus (labyrinthicus frog). Prey. Herpetological Review 37 204.

  • Ferreira F.S. Vicentin W. Costa F.E.D.S. & Súarez Y.R. (2014) Trophic ecology of two piranha species Pygocentrus nattereri and Serrasalmus marginatus (Characiformes Characidae) in the floodplain of the Negro River Pantanal. Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia 26 381-391.

  • Filho L.E. Feijó A. & Rocha P.A. (2014) Opportunistic predation on bats trapped in mist nets by Leptodactylus vastus (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Biotemas 27 205-208.

  • FishBase (2015) Retrieved from (accessed 29 September 2015).

  • Ford F. (2013) Wild: 75 Freshwater Tropical Fish of the World. The Greenwich Workshop Press Seymour.

  • Froese R. & Pauly D. (2015) Brachymystax lenok. Retrieved from (accessed 22 November 2015).

  • Gonzalez-Fernandez M. (2013) Retrieved from https://www.facebook. com/groups/Chiroptera.Bats/permalink/10153259529085392/ (accessed 29 September 2015).

  • Gouveia S.F. Rocha P.A. Milkalauskas J.S. & Silveira V.V. (2009) Rhinella jimi (Cururu toad) and Leptodactylus vastus (Northeastern pepper frog). Predation on bats. Herpetological Review 40 210.

  • Gunnell G.F. & Simmons N.B. (2012) Evolutionary History of Bats – fossils molecules and morphology. Cambridge University Press Cambridge.

  • Harriman V. (2003) Myotis grisescens. Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved from (accessed 12 October 2015).

  • Havens A. (2006) Myotis lucifugus. Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved from (accessed 12 October 2015).

  • Hermann J.A. (1950) The mammals of the Stockton Plateau of northeastern Terrell County Texas. The Texas Journal of Science 2 368-393.

  • Hogan Z. & Jensen O. (2013) Hucho taimen. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T188631A22605180. Retrieved from T188631A22605180.en (accessed 22 September 2015).

  • Hutson A.M. Mickleburgh S.P. & Racey P.A. (2001) Microchiropteran bats: Global status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/ SSC Chiroptera Specialist Group. IUCN Gland Switzerland and Cambridge.

  • Ingles L.G. (1947) Mammals of California. Standford University Press California.

  • InTheory (2014) Comment. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican. com/article/fish-go-birding-video/ (accessed 28 September 2015).

  • Jones C. & Manning R.W. (1989) Myotis austroriparius. Mammalian species 332 1-3.

  • Jones C.J. (1961) Additional records of bats in New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy 42 538-539.

  • Jones R.S. & Hettler W.F. (1959) Bat feeding by green sunfish. Texas Journal of Science 11 48.

  • Kaimov M.G. & Gairabekov R.H. (2009) Tрофические особенности и связанные с ними миграции ручьевой форели на терри- тории Чеченской Pеспублики. The South of Russia: Ecology Development 4 97-99.

  • Kinsey C. (1961) Leopard frog attacks bat. Journal of Mammalogy 42 408-408.

  • Kirkpatrick R.D. (1982) Rana catesbeiana (bullfrog). Food. Herpetological Review 13 17.

  • Korschgen L.J. & Baskett T.S. (1963) Foods of impoundment-and stream-dwelling bullfrogs in Missouri. Herpetologica 19 89-99. Kunz T.H. & Fenton M.B. (2003) Bat ecology. University of Chicago Press Chicago.

  • Kunz T.H. & Reynolds D.S. (2003) Bat colonies in buildings. Monitoring trends in bat populations of the United States and territories: problems and prospects (eds T.J. O’Shea & M.A. Bogan) pp. 91-102. US Geological Survey Biological Resources Division Information and Technology Report USGS/ BRD/ITR-2003-003 Washington.

  • Leblanc F. (2005) Case of predation of a bat by a frog (genus Rana) in Creuse (Limousin France). Rhinolophe 17 29.

  • Lee D.S. (1969) Notes on the feeding behavior of cave-dwelling bullfrogs. Herpetologica 25 211-212.

  • Lesiński G. Gryz J. & Kowalski M. (2009) Bat predation by tawny owls Strix aluco in differently humantransformed habitats. Italian Journal of Zoology 76 415-421.

  • Lima S.L. & Dill L.M. (1990) Behavioral decisions made under the risk of predation: a review and prospectus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 68 619-640.

  • Lowe C.G. Wetherbee B.M. Crow G.L. & Tester A.L. (1996) Ontogenetic dietary shifts and feeding behavior of the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier in Hawaiian waters. Environmental Biology of Fishes 47 203-211.

  • Lowe-McConnell R.H. (1964) The fishes of the Rupununi savanna district of British Guiana. Groupings of fish species and effects of the seasonal cycles on the fish. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 45 103-144.

  • Lowry D. Wintzer A.P. Matott M.P. Whitenack L.B. Huber D.R. Dean M. & Motta P.J. (2005) Aerial and aquatic feeding in the silver arawana Osteoglossum bicirrhosum. Environmental Biology of Fishes 73 453-462.

  • Macdonald S. (2010) Gulf of Carpentaria. Retrieved from http://www. 2/ (accessed 29 September 2015).

  • Means B.D. (2000) Round the world 2001. Retrieved from http://www. (Accessed 22 September 2015).

  • Means B.D. (2003) Crack of doom. BBC Wildlife 3 55.

  • Means B.D. (2008) Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology. Pineapple Press Sarasota.

  • Merritt J.F. (2014) Guide to the Mammals of Pennsylvania. University of Pittsburgh Press Pittsburgh.

  • Mikula P. Morelli F. Lučan R. Darryl J. & Tryjanowski P. (forthcoming) Bats as prey of diurnal birds: A global perspective. Mammal Review.

  • Molinari J. Gutiérrez E.E. Ascenção A.A. Nassar J.M. Arends A. & Márquez R.J. (2005) Predation by giant centipedes Scolopendra gigantea on three species of bats in a Venezuelan cave. Caribbean Journal of Science 41 340-346.

  • Murphy R.C. & Nichols J.T. (1913) Long Island fauna and flora – I. The bats (Order Chiroptera). Science Bulletin of the Museum Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences 2 1-15.

  • Murray T. (2004) Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) eating a bat. Retrieved from (accessed 22 September 2015).

  • National Geographic (2013) Catfish vs. bat. Retrieved from https:// (accessed 24 September 2015).

  • Nelson J. (2006) Fishes of the World. 4th ed. John Wiley and Sons New York.

  • Nyffeler M. & Knörnschild M. (2013) Bat predation by spiders. PloS One 8 e58120.

  • Országhová Z. Mikulíček P. & Pachinger K. (2003) Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus) as a prey of the edible frog (Rana esculenta). Biologia-Bratislava 58 291-291.

  • Oatley T.B. (1960) Miscellaneous notes of natural history interest. Swallows taken by tigerfish. Lammergeyer 1 37-38.

  • O’Brien G.C. Jacobs F. Evans S.W. & Smit N.J. (2014). First observation of African tigerfish Hydrocynus vittatus predating on barn swallows Hirundo rustica in flight. Journal of fish biology 84 263-266.

  • Parer D. & Parer-Cook R. (n.d. a) Bat frog. Retrieved from http://picsant. com/62537481-bat-frog.html (accessed 28 September 2015).

  • Parer D. & Parer-Cook R. (n.d. b) White’s tree frog (Litoria caerulea) feeding on little long-fingered bat (Miniopterus australis) central Queensland Australia. Retrieved from http://www.gettyimages. ae/detail/photo/whites-tree-frog-feeding-on-littlelong- high-res-stock-photography/479668747 (accessed 28 September 2015).

  • Pelayo‐Villamil P. Guisande C. Vari R.P. Manjarrés‐Hernández A. García‐Roselló E. González‐Dacosta J. Heine J. Vilas L.G. Patti B. Quinci E.M. Jiménez L.F. Granado-Lorencio C. Tedesco P.A. & Lobo J.M. (2015) Global diversity patterns of freshwater fishes-potential victims of their own success. Diversity and Distributions 21 345-356.

  • Petris M. (2011) Sapo comendo morcego. Retrieved from https://www. (accessed 28 September 2015).

  • Rechi E. (2014) Aruanã Negra (Osteoglossum ferreirai). Retrieved from (accessed 25 November 2015).

  • Richards G. & Hall L. (2012) A Natural History of Australian Bats: Working the Night Shift. Csiro Publishing Collingwood.

  • Roulin A. & Christe P. (2013) Geographic and temporal variation in the consumption of bats by European barn owls. Bird Study 60 561- 569.

  • San Diego Zoo (2015) Goliath frog. Retrieved from http://animals. (accessed 29 September 2015).

  • San Sebastián O. Navarro J. Llorente G.A. Richter-Boix A. (2015) Trophic strategies of a non-native and a native amphibian species in shared ponds. PLoS ONE 10 e013054.

  • Schalk C.M. Montaña C.G. Klemish J.L. & Wild E.R. (2014) On the diet of the frogs of the Ceratophryidae: Synopsis and new contributions. South American Journal of Herpetology 9 90-105.

  • Schätti B. (1984) Fledermäuse als Nahrung von Schlangen. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 35 335-342.

  • Schwalbe C. (2015) Bullfrog eating a bat in the San Bernadino National Wildlife Refuge in the Sonoran Desert. Retrieved from http:// (accessed 22 September 2015).

  • Schwartz A. & Henderson R.W. (1991) Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions Distribution and Natural History. University Press of Florida Gainesville.

  • Simpfendorfer C. (1992) Biology of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) caught by the Queensland shark meshing program off Townsville Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 43 33-43.

  • Smokeyrobot (2014) Comment. Retrieved from https://www.reddit. com/r/science/comments/1uvn4l/first_confirmed_record_ of_a_freshwater_fish/cem699p (accessed 28 September 2015).

  • Sparks D.W. Roberts K.J. & Jones C. (2000) Vertebrate predators on bats in North America North of Mexico. Reflections of a naturalist. Papers Honoring Professor Eugene D. Fleharty (ed J.R. Choate) pp. 229-241. Fort Hays Studies Kansas USA.

  • Speakman J.R. (1991) The impact of predation by birds on bat populations in the British Isles. Mammal Review 21 123-142.

  • Srpimentelbio (2015) Sapo x morcego. Retrieved from https://www. (accessed 28 September 2015).

  • Tamling J. (2004) Myotis mystacinus. Retrieved from http://animaldiversity. org/accounts/Myotis_mystacinus/ (accessed 27 October 2015).

  • Threlfall C.G. Law B. & Banks P.B. (2013) Odour cues influence predation risk at artificial bat roosts in urban bushland. Biology Letters 9 20121144.

  • Torres P. (2013) What the heck is going on in this picture?. Retrieved from in-this-picture.html (accessed 22 September 2015).

  • Yager J. & Williams D. (1988) Predation by gray snapper on cave bats in the Bahamas. Bulletin Marine Science 43 102-103.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.84

Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.365

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 926 532 10
PDF Downloads 324 236 7