Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches.
Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Although detailed anatomical descriptions of skull morphology are available for representatives of many mammalian orders, no such descriptive work exists for bats, a group that comprises over 20% of extant mammalian species. In this paper, we provide a detailed description of the skull of Pteropus (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae) and establish a system of cranial nomenclature following the Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria. Based on a series of specimens of Pteropus lylei, we describe the skull as a whole and the morphology of external surfaces of 24 bones (7 rostral, 16 cranial, plus the mandible) and 17 teeth. We describe internal surfaces and additional bones of disarticulated skulls of Pteropus livingstonii and use material from the same species to describe the middle ear ossicles and the petrosal bone. We include a description of the hyoid apparatus and larynx based on Pteropus tonganus and a description of the deciduous dentition based on Pteropus hypomelanus. Using a sectioned fetus, we determine the content and homology of all cranial foramina present in the skull of Pteropus. We outline the ontogenetic changes from newborn pups to adults, considering changes in skull shape and the sequence of bone fusion and tooth eruption. Based on selected comparisons to other megabats, we discuss broad patterns of variation in general cranial shape, and interspecific variation in sutures, foramina, processes, and dentition. Overall, this work establishes a descriptive and nomenclatorial benchmark for chiropteran skull anatomy in line with similar works in other mammalian orders, with the aim of creating common ground for comparative, phylogenetic, and functional studies of the bat skull, including comparisons with other mammals.