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Animals With Wings That Fly (That Aren Not Birds)

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Animals that can fly, that aren’t birds, include flying fish, flying squirrels, bees, flies, mosquitos, Draco lizards, and more.

When you think of animals with wings, the first creatures that come to mind are probably birds. 

But did you know that there are many other animals with wings that can fly?

Bats, insects, and even some mammals can take to the sky. Here is a list of 10 animals with wings that can fly, that aren’t birds.

True Flight vs. Gliding Flight

The difference between true flight and gliding flight is that animals capable of gliding flight can only glide. They can’t thrust themselves upwards. Most animals that can fly, that aren’t birds, aren’t capable of true flight. Most birds are capable of both true flight and gliding flight.

List of Animals With Wings

There are many animals with wings, but there is only a handful that can actually fly. 

Birds are the most well-known flyers, but they’re not the only ones. Bats, insects, and even some lizards can all take to the air. 

Here are some of the animals with wings that fly, that aren’t birds:

  • Colugo (Flying lemurs)
  • Flying Fish
  • Flying Fox
  • Flying Squirrel
  • Bees
  • Draco Lizards
  • Flying Phallangers
  • Gliding Snake
  • Termite
  • Mosquito

1. Colugo (Flying lemurs)

Flying lemurs
Image Source
Scientific NameDermoptera
Common NameColugo
Animal ClassMammalia
DietFruits, flowers, young leaves
HabitatRainforest

The Colugo is a mammal. This creature is found in Southeast Asia and is often confused with a bat due to its similar appearance.

The Colugo is also known as a “flying lemur,” although it doesn’t technically fly. Instead, it glides from tree to tree using its large, furry tail and webbed feet[1]

It’s an expert at this, able to cover up to 150 meters in a single glide.

While the Colugo is interesting to watch, it’s also an important part of the ecosystem. These creatures help disperse seeds and pollinate plants, which helps keep the forest healthy.

2. Flying Fish

Flying Fish
Image Source
Scientific NameExocoetidae
Common NameFlying Fish
Animal ClassActinopterygii
DietPlanktons, small crustaceans
HabitatAtlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States, Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans

The flying fish is another unique creature that can fly without wings similar to birds. Not only can it fly, but also swim.

The flying fish is found in tropical and subtropical waters all over the world. It has long, narrow pectoral fins that it uses to glide through the air. When it reaches the water, it uses its tail to propel itself forward.

Flying fish can grow to be up to 16 inches long. They are usually silver or blue in color with dark spots on their sides. Their diet consists of small crustaceans, mollusks, and other small fish.

3. Flying Fox

Flying Fox
Scientific NamePteropus
Common NameFlying Fox
Animal ClassMammalia
DietFlowers, fruits, leaves
HabitatWoodlands, tropical and subtropical forests

The Flying Fox is a species of bat native to Australia and New Guinea. The name “Flying Fox” comes from their long, fox-like snout. 

As their name suggests, these bats are able to fly using their wings.

There are three subspecies of Flying Foxes: 

  • The Little Red Flying Fox (Pteropus scapulatus)
  • The Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
  • The Black Flying Fox (Pteropus alecto)

All three subspecies are listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).[2]

The Little Red Flying Fox is the smallest subspecies, with a body length of only 8-9 inches (20-23 cm). As its name suggests, this subspecies has red fur on its body and a black face. The Little Red Flying Fox is found in Australia, specifically in the eastern and northern parts of the country.

The Grey-headed Flying Fox is the largest subspecies, with a body length of up to 16 inches (41 cm). As its name suggests, this subspecies has grey fur on its head and body. The Grey-headed Flying Fox is found in Australia and New Guinea.

4. Flying Squirrel

Northern Flying Squirrels
Image Source
Scientific NamePteromyini
Common NameFlying Squirrel
Animal ClassMammalia
DietFungi, insects, fruits, nuts, seeds
HabitatDeciduous and coniferous forests and woodlands

The flying squirrel is a small, nocturnal, arboreal rodent that is found in North America, Europe, and Asia. They are the only member of the family Sciuridae that can fly.

Flying squirrels have a furry membrane called a patagium that extends from their wrists to their ankles, which allows them to glide through the air[3]. They can glide up to 160 feet (49 m) and land without injury.

They are not capable of true flight.

Flying squirrels are small animals, with a body length of 5-8 inches (13-20 cm) and a tail length of 3-5 inches (7-12 cm). They weigh 1-2 ounces (28-57 g). 

Most squirrels are diurnal, but not the flying squirrel. This squirrel is nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. During the day, they sleep in nests that they build in tree cavities or abandoned bird nests. 

Flying squirrels are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Their diet includes acorns, nuts, fruits, insects, and birds’ eggs.

They are social animals, living in groups of 2-20 individuals. They communicate with each other using vocalizations, body language, and scent marking.

5. Bees

Bees Flying
Scientific NameAnthopila
Common NameBee
Animal ClassInsecta
DietNectar and pollen
HabitatWoodlands, garden, orchard, meadows

Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination. The best-known bee species is the western honey bee, known for producing honey and beeswax. 

Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea and are presently considered a clade, called Anthophila.

There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They occur on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.

Some bee species including honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees live socially in colonies. Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. 

Most pollen is used as food for larvae.

Bees have a long proboscis (tongue) that enables them to obtain the nectar from flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in females, as is typical for members of the superfamily Apoidea, though a few groups have considerably fewer.

Related: How Do Bees Fly?

6. Draco Lizards

Draco Lizards
Image Source
Scientific NameDraco
Common NameDraco Lizard
Animal ClassReptilia
DietAnts and termites
HabitatDensely wooded areas

Draco lizards are rare “flying” reptiles. As with many other animals, they are not capable of true flight but gliding flight. They can glide long distances using the webbing on their bodies.

There are several different species of Draco Lizard, all of which are native to Southeast Asia. The most common and well-known species is the Common Draco Lizard (Draco sumatranus), which is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

These lizards get their name from their ability to glide using the “webbing” between their front and back legs. When they jump off of a high place, they can open up this webbing and catch the wind, allowing them to glide for up to 50 meters (160 feet).

While they are in the air, Draco Lizards can change direction by simply shifting their weight. This makes them very hard to catch if you’re not a professional lizard wrangler.

7. Sugar Glider

Sugar Glider
Scientific NamePataurus breviceps
Common NameSugar Glider
Animal ClassMammalia
DietSap, fruits, insects, tree gum
HabitatWooded areas with open forest

Sugar gliders cannot fly, but they can glide. They do so using their long tail as a rudder and can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Their “wings” (twin-membrane between their limbs) are covered in a bright, iridescent color that helps them blend in with their surroundings.

These fascinating animals are found in the tropical rainforests of South America and Southeast Asia. They are proficient climbers, and often nest in the hollows of trees.

Flying Phallangers are nocturnal animals, and their diet consists mainly of insects. They use their long tongues to capture their prey.

8. Snakefly

Snakefly
Image Source
Scientific NameRaphidioptera
Common NameSnakefly
Animal ClassInsecta
DietWood-borong insects, insect eggs, caterpillar, aphids
HabitatTemperate coniferous forests

Snakeflies are found in tropical forests and can glide from tree to tree using their wing-like skin folds. Though they can’t fly like birds, they are still proficient at getting around their environment using the air currents.

There are several species of gliding snake, but the most well-known is the Chrysopelea ornata. This species is found in Southeast Asia and can grow up to 3 feet in length. 

Gliding snakes are able to flatten their bodies and extend their ribs to create “wings” that help them glide through the air.

While they may look like they’re flying, gliding snakes are falling slowly. They use their “wings” to control their descent and can glide up to 100 feet in a single jump.

9. Termite

winged termites
Scientific NameIsoptera
Common NameTermite
Animal ClassInsecta
Dietcellulose from wood, leaves, grass
Habitatdark, damp areas

The Termite is a small, winged creature that is often considered a nuisance by homeowners. These little insects are known for their destructive habits, as they tunnel through wood and eat away at the foundation of homes. While they are considered pests, termites play an important role in the ecosystem.

Termites are found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. There are over 2,000 different species of termites, and they range in size from just a few millimeters up to over a foot long. 

As social insects, they live in colonies that can number in the millions.

While most people think of termites as pests, these little creatures actually perform an important role in the ecosystem. Termites help to break down dead wood and other organic matter, recycling these materials back into the soil. 

This process is essential for the health of forests and other ecosystems.

10. Mosquito

Mosquito
Scientific NameCulicidae
Common NameMosquito
Animal ClassInsecta
DietNectar from flowering plants, blood from animals
HabitatRural and urban areas, jungles, forests, areas with stagnant water

The mosquito is a small, flying insect well-known for its ability to transmit diseases. Mosquitoes are found in nearly every part of the world and they can carry a variety of diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and Zika virus.

While most mosquitoes are harmless, there are some species that can pose a serious threat to human health. A mosquito’s mouthparts are specially adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. 

When a mosquito bites, it injects saliva into the wound, which can cause irritation and swelling. In some cases, their saliva can also transmit diseases.

Mosquitoes are attracted to warm-blooded animals, including humans. They are most active at dawn and dusk, but they can also bite during the day. 

Mosquitoes typically lay their eggs in stagnant water, such as ponds and swamps. The eggs hatch into larvae, which develop into adults in about two weeks.

FAQs

What Is the Only Mammal That Has Wings and Can Fly?

The only mammal that has wings and can fly is the bat. Bats are found all over the world, with the exception of Antarctica. There are more than 1,200 species of bats, making them the second-largest group of mammals after rodents.

Are Birds the Only Animals That Can Fly?

No, birds are not the only animals that can fly. Bats, for example, are able to fly using their wings. Some insects can fly using their wings as well.

Do Penguins Have Fins?

No, penguins do not have fins. They have wings that are adapted for swimming. While penguins cannot fly, their wings are excellent for propelling them through the water at high speeds. Penguins use their wings to generate lift, which helps them to glide through the water with ease. In addition to their wings, penguins also have webbed feet that help them to paddle through the water.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.

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