We quantified changes in body mass, forearm length, and the total length of the epiphyseal gap of the fourth metacarpal-phalangeal joint of the ashy leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros cineraceus) based on mark-recapture data obtained in Fangkong Cave in Hekou, Yunnan Province, China. We used these data to develop empirical growth curves, to derive growth rates, to establish age-predictive equations, and to compare growth parameters based on three nonlinear growth models. Forearm length and body mass of pups followed a linear pattern of growth until day 17, with mean growth rates of 0.81 mm/day and 0.09 g/day, respectively and thereafter their growth rates increased more slowly. The length of the epiphyseal gap initially increased linearly up to day 13 and then decreased linearly at a mean rate of 0.07 mm/day until day 37. An equation for estimating age based on forearm length was valid when this dimension was ≤ 27.6 mm, whereas the equation based on the length of the epiphyseal gap was valid for forearm lengths ≥ 24.3 mm. Together, these two equations permit estimation of the age H. cineraceus pups between 1 and 37 days. 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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