The Characters


"Marina is based on an Eastern Red Bat, a type of bat that, like Shade’s species, is common in eastern Canada. Again, I just liked the look of this kind of bat. She’s a little bigger than Shade’s species, with broader wings. In the book I call her a brightwing. Since bats don’t see colours, all they would notice is the brightness of the fur. When Shade first sees her, he mistakes her for an autumn leaf, because her wings are all folded up over her body." - K.O.


Eastern Red Bat

Eastern Red bats are tree bats found throughout North America from the Rocky Mountains to central Florida . Their thick fur can vary from brick red to a yellowish red. They are a medium size bat with a wingspan of up to 30 centimeters.

Eastern Red Bats generally roost in the foliage of deciduous or sometimes coniferous trees and, in spite of their bright red colouring, often appear to be dead leaves or hanging pine cones. They hang upside down from a single foot and twist slightly with the movement of the wind. They do not roost in hollows or caves.

Eastern Red bats also migrate south along the Atlantic seaboard though little is known about their actual winter habitat. They eat twilight-flying insects such as moths, scarab beetles, plant hoppers, flying ants, leafhoppers, ground beetles, and assassin beetles.

Sources: Bat Conservation International, Animal Diversity Web

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photo: © Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, Inc

Silverwing © copyright Kenneth Oppel, published by HarperCollins Canada; illustrations by David Frankland, animation & website by Hoffworks