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Keywords:

  • mammal;
  • Eutheria;
  • Chiroptera;
  • Phyllostomidae;
  • embryogenesis;
  • limb development;
  • embryo staging;
  • model organism

Abstract

There are approximately 4,800 extant species of mammals that exhibit tremendous morphological, physiological, and developmental diversity. Yet embryonic development has been studied in only a few mammalian species. Among mammals, bats are second only to rodents with regard to species number and habitat range and are the most abundant mammals in undisturbed tropical regions. Bat development, though, remains relatively unstudied. Here, we describe and illustrate a staging series of embryonic development for the short-tailed fruit bat, Carollia perspicillata, based on embryos collected at timed intervals after captive matings. As Carollia can be readily maintained and propagated in captivity and is extremely abundant in the wild, it offers an attractive choice as a chiropteran model organism. This staging system provides a framework for studying Carollia embryogenesis and should prove useful as a guide for embryological studies of other bat species and for comparisons with other orders of mammals. Developmental Dynamics 233:721–738, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.