Posts Tagged ‘Bats’

Scientists Announce Top 10 New Species In Last Year

May 28, 2008

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists — scientists responsible for species exploration and classification — has just announced the top 10 new species described in 2007.

On the list are an ornate sleeper ray, with a name that sucks: Electrolux; a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur; a shocking pink millipede; a rare, off-the-shelf frog; one of the most venomous snakes in the world; a fruit bat; a mushroom; a jellyfish named after its victim; a life-imitates-art “Dim” rhinoceros beetle; and the “Michelin Man” plant.

The taxonomists are also issuing a SOS — State of Observed Species report card on human knowledge of Earth’s species. In it, they report that 16,969 species new to science were discovered and described in 2006. The SOS report was compiled by ASU’s International Institute for Species Exploration in partnership with the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the International Plant Names Index, and Thompson Scientific, publisher of Zoological Record.

Click here for the full article.

Dying Bats In The Northeast U.S. Remain A Mystery

May 13, 2008

Investigations continue into the cause of a mysterious illness that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of bats since March 2008. At more than 25 caves and mines in the northeastern U.S., bats exhibiting a condition now referred to as “white-nosed syndrome” have been dying.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently issued a Wildlife Health Bulletin, advising wildlife and conservation officials throughout the U.S. to be on the lookout for the condition known as “white-nose syndrome” and to report suspected cases of the disease.

USGS wildlife disease specialist Dr. Kimberli Miller advises that “anyone finding sick or dead bats should avoid handling them and should contact their state wildlife conservation agency or the nearest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service field office to report their observation.”

Click here for the full article.

Roaring Bats: New Scientific Results Show Bats Emitting More Decibels Than A Rock Concert

May 3, 2008

Researchers studying the echolocation behavior in bats have discovered that the diminutive flying mammals emit exceptionally loud sounds — louder than any known animal in air.

Annemarie Surlykke from the Institute of Biology, SDU, Denmark, and her colleague, Elisabeth Kalko, from the University of Ulm, Germany, studied the echolocation behavior in 11 species of insect-eating tropical bats from Panamá, the findings of which are reported in this weeks’ PLoS ONE.

The researchers used microphone arrays and photographic methods to reconstruct flight paths of the bats in the field when these nocturnal hunters find and capture their insect prey in air using their sonar system. Surlykke and Kalko took this information as a base to estimate the emitted sound intensity and found that bats emit exceptionally loud sounds exceeding 140 dB SPL (at 10 cm from the bat’s mouth), which is the highest level reported so far for any animal in air. For comparison, the level at a loud rock concert is 115-120 dB and for humans, the threshold of pain is around 120 dB.

Click here for the full article.

Animals Use “Chemical Compasses,” Study Says

April 30, 2008

The idea that some animals navigate by “seeing” Earth’s magnetic field has been shown to be feasible in laboratory tests, a new study says.

First proposed about 30 years ago, the theory suggests that sunlight absorbed by molecules in the eyes of animals such as birds and bats triggers a chemical reaction.

This reaction makes the molecules sensitive to the local magnetic field, according to study co-author Peter Hore, a chemist at the University of Oxford in England.

But Earth’s magnetic field is so weak that scientists were skeptical that it could have a detectable effect on the molecules.

Click here for the full article.

Tropical Reforestation Aided By Bats

April 30, 2008

German scientists are engaging bats to kick-start natural reforestation in the tropics by installing artificial bat roosts in deforested areas. This novel method for tropical restoration is presented in a new study published online in the science journal Conservation Biology this week. Detlev Kelm from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin (IZW) and Kerstin Wiesner and Otto von Helversen from the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg report that the deployment of artificial bat roosts significantly increases seed dispersal of a wide range of tropical forest plants into their surroundings, providing a simple and cheap method to speed up natural forest regeneration

Click here for the full article.

Bats Play A Major Role In Plant Protection

April 11, 2008

If you get a chance to sip some shade-grown Mexican organic coffee, please pause a moment to thank the bats that helped make it possible. At Mexican organic coffee plantations, where pesticides are banned, bats and birds work night and day to control insect pests that might otherwise munch the crop.

Until now, the birds got nearly all the credit. But a new study from University of Michigan researchers shows that during the summer wet season, bats devour more bugs than the birds at Finca Irlanda, a 740-acre organic coffee plantation in Chiapas, Mexico.

And they often do it using a “perch and wait” hunting technique that is proving to be far more common than bat researchers had believed. A report on the study appears in the journal Science April 4, 2008.

Click here for the full article.

52-Million-Year-Old Bat Fossil and more than you could ever possibly want to know about bats!

March 18, 2008

Call me weird, but I love bats. They’re a cool critter (hello, flying mammal with ecolocation), and I think they are sooooooooooo cute (some species are, at least). Cuteness on wings – for what more could I ask?

-Kitty Mowmow

From The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC:

Researchers have unearthed a 52-million-year-old fossil of a primitive bat that proves that bats developed the ability to fly before echolocation. Dr. Nancy Simmons of the American Museum of Natural History explains why scientists are so excited about this discovery.

More about Dr. Simmons at the AMNH

Click here to go to WNYC’s site and listen to the radio program about the bats!

What’s Killing The Bats Of The Northeast?

March 7, 2008

Healthy bats, when waking from hibernation, form small clusters after emerging from months of slumber.

But when CBS News correspondent Daniel Sieberg went with Biologist Al Hicks to an abandoned underground mine near Kingston, N.Y., it looked like a bat morgue, with many of the fragile mammals already dead, or dying, in our hands.

“This is the biggest threat to bat populations I’ve ever seen, no question about it,” said Hicks, a state wildlife biologist.

Normally, the small brown bats should respond to lights and noise.

But their bodies are so weak, they are too lethargic to move. Their fat stores have been mysteriously depleted.

“If what we see here continues to play out over the winter, we’ll lose most of them,” Hicks said.

Click here for the full article.

For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at, Sunday nights 8-10 central.