• WordNet 3.6
    • n Chiroptera an old order dating to early Eocene: bats: suborder Megachiroptera (fruit bats); suborder Microchiroptera (insectivorous bats)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n. pl chiroptera (Zoöl) an ancient order of mammalia dating to the early Eocene, including the bats. They are nocturnal mouselike mammals having four toes of each of the anterior limbs elongated and connected by a web, so that they form membranous wings that can be used in flying. They also have anatomical adaptations, including large ears, for echolocation, by which they navigate and in some cases find insects. The order includes the suborders Megachiropterathe fruit bats) and Microchiropterainsectivorous bats). See Bat. Previously spelled cheiroptera.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • chiroptera The bats; an order of ineducabilian placental mammals, having the fore limbs modified for true flight by the enormous development of the manus or hand, upon the elongated and divaricated metacarpal and phalangeal bones of which a wing-membrane is spread out and connected with the sides of the body and with the hind limbs. The forearm is also elongated, and consists of a long, slender, curved radius, with a rudimentary ulna aukylosed at its proximal end; the thumb is short and has a claw, which is wanting on the other digits of the wings; the hind limbs are peculiarly rotated outward so that the knee is directed backward, and connected together by an interfemoral membrane, which also incloses a part or the whole of the tail, and is supported in part by a peculiar tarsal process, the calcar (which is occasionally wanting). The order is also characterized by a discoid deciduate placenta. The teeth are heterodont and diphyodont, consisting of specialized incisors, canines, premolars, and molars, 38 or fewer in number; the body is furry; the wings are more or less naked; the penis pendent; the testes inguinal or abdominal; the mammæ thoracic; and the cerebral hemispheres smooth and small, leaving the cerebellum exposed. The Chiroptera are extremely modified Insectivora whose organization is adapted for flight; they are among the most volitant and aėrial of all creatures, being scarcely able to move except on the wing. Most of the bats are insectivorous or carnivorous, but some are frugivorous. The order is divided into the Megachiroptera or Frugivora, and the Microchiroptera or Animalivora. The number of species is about 400, of which those of the microchiropteran family Vespertilionidœ constitute considerably more than one third (about 150); the macrochiropterans, frugivorous bats, or Pteropodidœ, are about 70 in number. The order is nearly cosmopolitan, being absent only from arctic and antarctic regions, but is most numerously represented in the tropical regions of both hemispheres; the fruit-eating bats are not found in America. See bat. Also Cheiroptera.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
NL., fr. Gr. chei`r hand + ptero`n wing


In literature:

Although the brain is of a low type, probably no animals possess so delicate a sense of touch as Chiroptera.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 2" by Various
The Chiroptera (bats) furnish an illustration of this truth.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 13, Slice 4" by Various