Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Bit About Bats

Cute and Fuzzy: Myotis elegans bat

Why study bats? It's a question my husband Bruce addresses from time to time since bats are his specialty. And let's be honest, there's a big yuck factor for many people regarding bats. But bats are actually cute and fuzzy.


Ok, some of them are a bit bizarre-looking. But you must admit the little myotis (above) is a pretty appealing little animal. And "little" it is, at less than 4 grams in weight. That's less than a single US 5-cent coin.

Since bats are nocturnal, they can be hard to study. But they are still important. Bats provide valuable "ecosystem services" such as:
  • critical pollinators of many tropical plants
  • seed dispersers that recolonize cleared areas
  • insect population control
Bats are also indicators of habitat quality and habitat stability due to long life spans. Not only that, they comprise more than 50% of terrestrial mammal species in the New World tropics. Reason enough to give them their due.

No comments:

Post a Comment