Lindsay Irving from the California Academy of Sciences offers up some fantastic bat facts.
In honor of the murdered 900 bats from which this blog gets its name, I decided to dedicate this inaugural post to our fellow furry mammalian cousins, BATS. I work in a research lab at the California Academy of Sciences which is a natural history museum in San Francisco that contains, among public exhibits, a planetarium and a huge aquarium, over 28 million biological specimens in its collections. These specimens range from plants, to bugs, to jars of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and you guessed it…bats. Gathered from the far reaches of the globe, biological specimens represent the record of what we know exists on this planet.
My colleagues tell me that there are over 1000 known species of bats in the world but relatively little is actually known about them. What is known is that they play a key role in forests. Many plants rely on these creatures of the night for pollinating flowers or spreading seeds. The scientists I work with travel to remote places and seek out the creepiest, darkest caves looking for bats to better understand their role in nature and evolution. Sadly, 25% of all known bats are threatened with extinction. They are often thought of as pests or evil omens so they get a bad rap despite their important role in maintaining forest health. They aren’t necessarily the “cutest” creatures on the planet either. But you can decide for yourself.
The photos included were collected by Academy scientists and colleagues on a series of expeditions to the mountains of southwest China; Jack Dumbacher, Matt Durnin and Moe Flannery.
Lindsay Irving: http://research.calacademy.org/cabi/staff/lirving
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