Wednesday, March 05, 2014
by Corinna of TheFrogBag
Photos courtesy of named photographers
Bat cave. That’s where bats live, right? Many do spend the day deep underground but with close to 1,000 species worldwide there just aren’t enough caves to go around. Instead, many have evolved to sleep in crevasses (which are sometimes provided by bridges and buildings in modern times), in the folds of big, tropical leaves, and, in the case of the aptly named tree bat (Ardops nichollsi), in the branches of trees.
Despite being listed as a “species of least concern” by the IUCN, little is known about the tree bat beyond the fact that it spends its time in trees throughout the northern Lesser Antilles and the Caribbean. It seems to prefer rainforests, although individuals been spotted in cacao and banana plantations as well as dryer forests. Happily, the population seems to be healthy and their habitat relatively unthreatened. In fact, the biggest danger to their continued success seems to be the growth of hurricanes due to global climate change.
They are considered fruit bats, so their interest in banana plantations is no mystery. The same can’t be said for their mating habits, which have never been fully described. Like most bats, they only produce one offspring at a time, but unlike many they may breed twice each year. If that’s so it would certainly contribute to their population stability.
Like the trees they inhabit, their color is variable. Much of their fur is tricolored, with cream, dark brown, and light brown pigments all existing in a single hair, particularly on their bellies. The tragus (the small projection of cartilage at base of the ear that helps with echolocation) is often tinged with green, almost like a leaf.
If a bat that is often seen near agricultural areas, sleeps in accessible locations, and isn’t rare is this mysterious, what must we be missing about more elusive flying mammals? The answer is: a lot. Bats are notoriously understudied in general, not to mention underfunded in terms of research and conservation.
Want to do something to help bats worldwide? Batcon.org is a great resource. They’ll even point you to some actual bat caves!
Posted by Brizel Handcrafts on Wednesday, March 05, 2014