jamaicensis is one of the largest of the fourteen species
of Artibeus. The largest is A. lituratus with
a head and body length of 87-100mm, a forearm length of 64-76
mm, and weight of approximately 44-87 grams. The smallest is
A. phaeotis which has a head and body length of about
53 mm, a forearm length of 35-38 mm and weight of approximately
10 grams. The interfemoral membrane is narrow and lacks an external
tail. Coloration of the short, velvety fur ranges from dull
brown, gray or black with a silvery tinge. Underparts are usually
paler. There are four whitish facial stripes present, but no
light dorsal line.
Preferred roosting sites have a moist environment with open
areas, and are often found in houses. In the Yucatan Peninsula,
A. jamaicensis roosts in caves, cenotes, and buildings.
Some species have been known to modify palm fronds by biting
along the midrib of the leaf and folding it down to make a tentlike
A. jamaicensis is primarily frugiverous, but also feeds
on pollen, nectar, flower parts and insects. Favorite fruits
are figs, mangoes, avocados, bananas, espave nuts and the pulpy
layer surrounding the seeds of the Acrocomia palms. Because
food passes through the digestive tract of A. jamaicensis
so quickly (within 15-20 minutes), little or no bacterial action
occurs. Thus the bat is an important disseminator of the tropical
fruit seeds on which it feeds.
Social organization of this species is thought to be a harem
structure, but females often discreetly form maternity colonies,
remaining until the young are weaned. Pregnant or lactating
females have been found throughout the year in various parts
of A. jamaicensis' range.
A. jamaicensis is found in Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas
(Mexico) to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, N Argentina and E Brazil,
and Tobago; Greater
and Lesser Antilles, S Bahamas and perhaps the Florida Keys.