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Open Access Research article

A comparative study of prenatal development in Miniopterus schreibersii fuliginosus, Hipposideros armiger and H. pratti

Zhe Wang1*, Naijian Han2, Paul A Racey3, Binghua Ru1 and Guimei He1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, PR China

2 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, PR China

3 School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK

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BMC Developmental Biology 2010, 10:10  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-10-10

Published: 21 January 2010



Bats comprise the second largest order of mammals. However, there are far fewer morphological studies of post-implantation embryonic development than early embryonic development in bats.


We studied three species of bats (Miniopterus schreibersii fuliginosus, Hipposideros armiger and H. pratti), representing the two suborders Yangochiroptera and Yinpterochiroptera. Using an established embryonic staging system, we identified the embryonic stages for M. schreibersii fuliginosus, H. armiger and H. pratti and described the morphological changes in each species, including the development of the complex and distinctive nose-leaves in H. armiger and H. pratti. Finally, we compared embryonic and fetal morphology of the three species in the present study with five other species for which information is available.


As a whole, the organogenetic sequence of bat embryos is uniform and the embryos appear homoplastic before Stage 16. Morphological differentiation between species occurs mainly after embryonic Stage 16. Our study provides three new bat species for interspecific comparison of post-implantation embryonic development within the order Chiroptera and detailed data on the development of nose-leaves for bats in the superfamily Rhinolophoidea.