Based on mark-recapture data, we studied the postnatal growth of Marshall's horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus marshalli) in Hekou County, Yunnan Province, China. Our results detected no significant differences both in body mass and in forearm length between males and females at birth. On average, young bats were not agile fliers until 31 days of age. Body mass and forearm length of pups followed a linear pattern of growth until day 13, with mean growth rates of 0.17 g/day and 1.22 mm/day, respectively, and thereafter growth rates decreased. Length of the total epiphyseal gap of the fourth metacarpal-phalangeal joint showed a linear increase up to 10 days followed by a linear decrease until day 40 with a mean rate of 0.09 mm/day. Together, two equations permitted estimation of the age of R. marshalli pups between 1 and 40 days of age. Of the three nonlinear growth models (logistic, Gompertz, and von Bertalanffy), the logistic equation provided the best fit to the empirical curves for body mass and forearm length.
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Vol. 14 • No. 1