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A rare carnivorous bat genome

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

Trachops cirrhosus, known as the fringe-lipped bat or the frog-eating bat, is a member of the New World leaf-nosed bats, Phyllostomidae. This species is the only member of its genus and is one of the only carnivorous bat species in the Americas, feeding on primarily insects alongside lizards, frogs, and even fruits and seeds. Fringe-lipped bats detect their prey using their keen hearing; they listen for frog calls to hunt frogs, and listen for rustling noises in vegetation and leaf litter to find lizards and large insects. These bats are distributed from southern Mexico to southern Brazil and roost in trees and caves. This species is listed as an IUCN Least Concern.

Photo of Trachops cirrhosus in Belize by Sherri and Brock Fenton

Today, we release the first chromosome-length assembly for Trachops cirrhosus. This is a $1K-model genome assembly, with a contig n50 = 60 Kb and a scaffold n50 = 124 Mb. (For more details on our assembly procedure, please see our Methods page.) The liver sample used for in situ Hi-C preparation (AMNH-AMCC-225240) came from a male individual of Trachops cirrhosis collected on the 26th of April, 2017 at the Ka’Kabish Archaeological Reserve in Orange Walk District, Belize (17.81531 N, 88.73057 W). Capture and export of this specimen were licensed under Belize Forest Department permits WL/2/1/17(16), WL/2/1/17(19), and WL/2/7/17(21). The voucher specimen and data for this sample are archived at the American Museum of Natural History under catalog number AMNH-Mammalogy-279525. We graciously thank Nancy Simmons (AMNH Department of Mammalogy), Svetlana Katanova (AMNH Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection), and Daniel Becker (University of Oklahoma) for access to this sample.

This is the third phyllostomid bat species released on (see Seba's short-tailed bat [Carollia perspicillata] and the Jamaican fruit bat [Artibeus jamaicensis]) and the 15th bat species overall!

Check out the 15 chromosomes of the fringe-lipped bat in the interactive JuiceBox.js session below, and follow the assembly page link for more data.

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