Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Molossus rufus

Black Mastiff Bat

Order: Chiroptera
Family: Molossidae


Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Black Mastiff Bats are larger than most species in the genus Molossus, and males are larger than females. They are relatively common, making their homes everywhere from deciduous and evergreen forests to thorn scrub to towns. They are not choosy about roosting sites, either: colonies of 30 to 50 bats find that roofs, attics, rock crevices, and woodpecker holes or other hollows in trees all meet their housing needs. Like all free-tailed bats, they eat insects, including beetles and flying ants.

The fur on the back of Black Mastiff Bats can be black, dark chocolatey brown, or deep orange. To add to the confusion, the “rufus” in its scientific name means red. As is true of many bats - in fact, of many mammals - the underparts are paler in color.

Range: Head and Body: 71-98 mm; Tail: 38-54 mm

Range: 28-37 g


Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, É., 1805. Annales Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. 6:155.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Molossus rufus