Southern Mexico to Paraguay, Southern Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada in the Lesser Antilles.
Primarily humid tropical evergreen forests.
Generally, the color is dark brown to rusty and sometimes a clear pale orange. This bat is extremely small with a short tail and leafed nose. Uses echolocation to avoid obstacles during flight, and appears to visually recognize and differentiate patterns.
Roosts (in caves, mines, rocks, culverts, hollow trees, logs, and buildings) in colonies of several hundred to several thousand with males and females usually present throughout the year. Adults form colonies with harems consisting of an adult male and several females and their infants. There are male only and juvenile groupings also. Males vigorously defend their harems from other males, and defend the infants when the mothers are out feeding. Males also assist to reunite mothers and their infants. These bats are active at night, and fly an average of three miles each night. They are considered pests because they damage cultivated crops such as mangoes, coffee beans, guavas, papaws, almonds, and others.
Mating occurs throughout the year with two definite peak periods which depend on the seasonal rainfall pattern. In Panama, the peak periods are February to May and June to August. In Costa Rica a minimum reproductive period appears to occur from October to early January. Females give birth to a single infant with males reaching maturity at one to two years and females at about one year.