CHIROPTERAN MYSTERY! - The Females of the Madagascar Sucker Footed Bats Are Missing…
by Ed Yong
For the last six years, Paul Racey has been trying to find a female eastern sucker-footed bat. He has failed. The bats only live in Madagascar and since 2007, Racey’s team have tramped through the country’s eastern forests with nets, bags, and devices that detect the bats’ sonar. They’ve captured 298 individuals, some many times over. But every single one of them was male.
Where are the females? Why are they so ridiculously hard to find? And why do they segregate themselves from the males? No one knows. After so much fruitless searching, Racey doesn’t even have a good hypothesis.
All he knows is that the females must exist. For a start, a Smithsonian team once collected a female sucker-footed bat around 30 years ago, and it’s still housed in their collection. Also, Racey keeps on finding young males every year. “You can hold their wings up to the light and see bits of cartilage round their joints, which haven’t ossified fully,” he says. So, the bats must be reproducing. “There have to be females. It’s just that we can’t find them, and it’s very embarrassing.”…
The full-grown bumble-bee bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai), at about the size of a bumble bee,is considered one of the smallest mammals on the planet. But its comparatively wide wingspan enables the animal to hover and cover long distances, which it navigates, like other bats, with echolocation. The bumble-bee bat inhabits only a certain area of Thailand and Myanmar and is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, because the population of less than 10,000 has been disturbed by human activity in the limestone caves and bamboo deforests where they reside.
This sweet little guy is the newly discovered ‘Chewbacca bat’ from Mozambique. Scientists have come out of a month-long survey of the Gorongosa National Park in Central Mozambique having discovered hundreds of new species including a cave-dwelling frog, farting bombardier beetles, and a tiny elephant shrew.
…is a species of vesper bat native to the eastern United States, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and some Bahamian islands. Like most bats the eastern red bat is nocturnal and feeds mostly on flying insects like moths, beetles and flies which are usually caught on the wing. Eastern red bats are highly migratory and will move south for the winter and north during the spring. Weirdly enough male and female populations migrate at different times and have different ranges in the summer. Thanks to its thick fur and small ears this solitary bat can survive freezing temperatures during hibernation, they will also wrap their wings around their body for extra insulation!
This Indian flying fox, and her baby (clinging underneath) and about 100 of her kin were spotted a week ago near Manu, Dhalai District, Tripura. The photographer got 10 magnificent photos of males and females, including one clinging juvenile breastfeeding in flight. No problem, apparently!
Fruit bats and bat fruits: the evolution of fruit scent in relation to the foraging behaviour of bats in the New and Old World tropics
by Hodgkison et al.
Frugivory among bats (Chiroptera) has evolved independently in the New and Old World tropics: within the families Phyllostomidae and Pteropodidae, respectively. Bats from both families rely primarily on olfaction for the location of fruits. However, the influence of bats on the evolution of fruit scent is almost completely unknown.
Using the genus Ficus as a model, the aims of this study were to explore the chemical composition of fruit scent in relation to two contrasting seed dispersal syndromes in Panama and Malaysia and to assess the influence of fruit scent on the foraging behaviour of neo- and palaeotropical fruit-eating bats…
Imagine it’s a hot day, and you’re craving some cold lemonade. Someone offers you a glass, but with one condition: You can drink it only using your tongue, with no lips touching the glass. No straw.
You might have a problem.
But many animals — bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and bats — have tongues specifically designed to do this. All drink nectar from flowers using only their tongues. In the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one species of bat’s particularly elaborate nectar-scooping tongue.
Striped Like a Badger: New Genus of Bat Identified in South Sudan
Researchers have identified a new genus of bat after discovering a rare specimen in South Sudan. With wildlife personnel under the South Sudanese Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, Bucknell Associate Professor of Biology DeeAnn Reeder and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Programme Officer Adrian Garside were leading a team conducting field research and pursuing conservation efforts when Reeder spotted the animal in Bangangai Game Reserve.
“My attention was immediately drawn to the bat’s strikingly beautiful and distinct pattern of spots and stripes. It was clearly a very extraordinary animal, one that I had never seen before,” recalled Reeder. “I knew the second I saw it that it was the find of a lifetime.”…
(read more: Science Daily)
(photo: the newly described Niumbaha superba, courtesy of Bucknell University/DeeAnn Reeder)
Male bats perform oral sex on females, apparently to make sex last longer, researchers say.
These findings, the first discovery of male-to-female oral sex in bats, match prior studies revealing that female bats perform fellatio, or oral sex, on male bats.
Scientists analyzed a colony of about 420 Indian flying foxes (Pteropus giganteus) roosting in a single fig tree in southern India, near the village of Nallachampatti. This fruit-eating bat is one of the largest bats in the world.
Over the course of more than 13 months, using binoculars and a video camera, researchers witnessed 57 cases of sex — oral and intercourse — usually in the morning…