30 thoughts on “The ultimate cute bats

  1. Chiroptera says:

    12/3/14: “Scientists demonstrate existence of 3D compass in bat brain” http://uncovermichigan.com/content/22185-scientists-demonstrate-existence-3d-compass-bat-brain Research revealed brains of bats consist of neurons that sense the direction in which their head is pointed towards and hence support its navigation in 3D space by calculating a sense of the vertical direction unified with the horizontal. “It was then revealed that in neural compass, these directions are computed independently at different levels of complexity.” See also http://www.haaretz.com/life/science-medicine/1.629812

  2. Alfred says:

    White-Nose Syndrome fungus introduced from Europe to North America http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09609822# The investigation of factors underlying the emergence of fungal diseases in wildlife has gained significance as a consequence of drastic declines in amphibians, where the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has caused the greatest disease-driven loss of biodiversity ever documented [1]. Identification of the causative agent and its origin (native versus introduced) is a crucial step in understanding and controlling a disease [2]. Whereas genetic studies on the origin of B. dendrobatidis have illuminated the mechanisms behind the global emergence of amphibian chytridiomycosis [3], the origin of another recently-emerged fungal disease, White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) and its causative agent, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, remains unresolved [2,4]. WNS is decimating multiple North American bat species with an estimated death toll reaching 5–6 million. Here, we present the first informative molecular comparison between isolates from North America and Europe and provide strong evidence for the long-term presence of the fungus in Europe and a recent introduction into North America. Our results further demonstrate great genetic similarity between the North American and some European fungal populations, indicating the likely source population for this introduction from Europe.

    • Mike23 says:

      The federal government said Wednesday that it is listing the northern long-eared bat as threatened, giving new protections to a species that has been nearly wiped out in some areas by the spread of a fungal disease. White-nose syndrome was first discovered among bats in a cave near Albany, N.Y., in 2006, and has since killed millions of bats in the Northeast, South and Midwest. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/us/long-eared-bat-gets-federal-protection.html

    • Update says:

      The fungus behind white-nose syndrome, a disease that has ravaged bat populations in North America, may have an Achilles’ heel: UV light. White-nose syndrome has spread steadily for the past decade and is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, known as P. destructans or Pd. (USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station Jan 2, 2017) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/ufs–lft010218.php In a study published on Jan. 2 in the journal Nature Communications titled “Extreme sensitivity to ultra-violet light in the fungal pathogen causing white-nose syndrome of bats,” the research team suggests that P. destructans is likely a true fungal pathogen of bats that evolved alongside bat species in Europe and Asia for millions of years, allowing Eurasian bats to develop defenses against it. In the course of comparing P. destructans to six closely related non-pathogenic fungi, researchers discovered that P. destructans is unable to repair DNA damage caused by UV light, which could lead to novel treatments for the disease. The study, which was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02441-z

  3. Lytle Adams says:

    “In order to roost upside down on cave ceilings or tree limbs, bats need to perform an aerobatic feat unlike anything else in the animal world. Researchers from Brown University have shown that it’s the extra mass in bats’ beefy wings that makes the maneuver possible. By flapping both wings with one folded slightly toward their bodies, bats shift their center of mass to perform a flip.” http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-11/bu-buw111215.php (see images) “…how do bats get themselves in position to land?” Using a special flight enclosure, high-speed cameras and some sophisticated computer modeling, the researchers showed that it has a lot to do with wing mass and inertia. Bats’ wings are heavy, hand-like assemblages of bone, muscles, joints, tendons and skin. By throwing that extra wing weight around in very precise ways, bats generate inertial forces in order to reorient themselves, rather than relying on the aerodynamic forces generated by pushing against the air. It’s similar, Breuer says, to the way high divers shift their weight to perform flips and twists, or the way cats reorient themselves to land feet-down when they fall.
    The findings are published in the journal PLOS Biology.

  4. Lytle Adams says:

    While much is still unknown about how alterations in climate might affect specific bat populations, a study by researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, published in 2013 in the UK’s Royal Society journal Interface, suggested that the delicate system bats use for foraging for insects could be disrupted, with different species reacting to rises and falls in temperature.
    “The prey detection ability, and thus possibly the foraging efficiency, of echolocating bats is susceptible to rising temperatures through climate change,” the study said.
    “Global warming can thus directly affect the prey detection ability of individual bats and, indirectly, their interspecific interactions with competitors and prey.”
    Other studies indicate that extreme weather events could threaten whole bat populations.
    Warming temperatures could result in bats waking early from hibernation. And bats are considered more vulnerable to dehydration than most other mammals: in drought conditions, they might not be able to fly long distances to find water sources.” http://climatenewsnetwork.net/warming-adds-to-pressure-on-bats/ Includes links to source materials

    • Heebie-Jeebies says:

      Captive common vampire bats will share their food with hungry bat companions, and forge such a bond that they continue to hang out with these buddies once they’re released back to the wild, according to a newly published study in the journal Current Biology. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)31364-8
      “Bats are very maligned, and vampire bats are the most maligned of the bats,” says Gerald Carter of The Ohio State University, who is also a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. “What I study about them often makes people think about them in a more positive light.”
      What the researchers found is that bats with strong histories of cooperation in the lab continued to spend time together out in the wild. “These relationships that have been forming in captivity, they seem to persist,” Simon Ripperger, a visiting scientist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin says.
      “The relationships are in the animals’ minds, and they’re not just a byproduct of the environment,” says Carter, who adds that other animals such dolphins, elephants and nonhuman primates also seem to have “complex individualized relationships” with others.
      Whether to call these relationships “friendships,” though, is controversial.

      Common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) tagged with a tiny sensor for a study of its social interactions.

  5. Acrobat says:

    Over the course of a week in 2009, researchers tracked the flight of seven different Brazilian free-tailed bats residing in the Frio Bat Cave in Texas. What they found was astounding: the bats were capable of reaching ground-speeds of over 100 miles per hour, making them the fastest flying species in the world. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/fastest-flying-animal (peregrine falcons can reach speeds of around 190 mph, but that’s when they’re diving, not horizontal).

  6. Walburga Oesterreich says:

    Researchers discover everyday bat vocalizations contain information about emitter, addressee, context, and behavior http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39419 “…nearly all of the communication calls of the Egyptian fruit bat in the roost are emitted during aggressive pairwise interactions, involving squabbling over food or perching locations and protesting against mating attempts (links to supplementary Videos S1,S2,S3,S4).”
    “Bat chat: machine learning algorithms provide translations for bat squeaks : In a step towards understanding the origins of human speech, researchers have worked out a way to understand the meaning of bat calls” https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/dec/22/bat-chat-machine-learning-algorithms-provide-translations-for-bat-squeaks

  7. Carmen Gaia says:

    “The Hipster Ninja Bats That Sneak Up on Their Prey : The animals have evolved stealthy echolocation that moths can’t hear.” https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/11/the-arms-race-between-ninja-bats-and-sharp-eared-moths/545549/
    “Bat Cave Solves Mystery of Deadly SARS Virus : The latest findings also suggest a new outbreak could occur” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bat-cave-solves-mystery-of-deadly-sars-virus/

  8. Harbinger says:

    “Bats as barometer of change : Surprising results from a unique bat study in the US reveal shifting behavioral patterns due to environmental change that could have far-reaching implications for agriculture globally” (Rothamsted Research 2/12/18) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/rr-bab021218.php See also “Ongoing changes in migration phenology and winter residency at Bracken Bat Cave” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.14051/abstract;jsessionid=6156C1652F9B893092DB6A48D6971BAD.f04t01 Re: Bracken Cave http://www.batcon.org/our-work/regions/usa-canada/protect-mega-populations/bracken-cave

  9. Nightmare fuel says:

    India: “Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala: Why aren’t the bats getting sick? https://gulfnews.com/news/asia/india/nipah-virus-outbreak-in-kerala-why-aren-t-the-bats-getting-sick-1.2226274
    The virus has claimed the lives of at least 12 people over the past many days in the western coastal state of Kerala, sparking global concerns as the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the Nipah infection as a public health risk with epidemic potential. https://qz.com/1288907/keralas-nipah-virus-outbreak-has-scientists-racing-to-create-a-vaccine/ The viral infection has proved to be fatal in 70% of cases and is spread through contact with the saliva, urine, or excreta of fruit bats, which are its natural hosts.
    World Health Organization: “Nipah Virus Infection” http://www.searo.who.int/entity/emerging_diseases/links/CDS_Nipah_Virus.pdf?ua=1

  10. बल्लेबाज says:

    “Just how blind are bats? Color vision gene study examines key sensory tradeoffs” (Molecular Biology and Evolution, Oxford University Press) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/mbae-jhb101618.php
    India: reportedly about 50,000 bats inhabit various trees around a pond in the village of Sarsai and the local residents consider them as a symbol of Goddess Lakshmi along with being messengers of God who will protect them from disease and intruders. https://edtimes.in/sarsai-is-a-village-in-bihar-that-worships-bats/
    Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAXIEZVBxpA

  11. Chiropterist says:

    ‘Pest-controlling’ bats could help save rainforests (University of Cambridge) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-12/uoc-bc120718.php
    See also “Bats as potential suppressors of multiple agricultural pests: A case study from Madagascar” in the journal “Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment” (January 2019) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880918303761?via%3Dihub – related articles in the sidebar include “Novel perspectives on bat insectivory highlight the value of this ecosystem service in farmland: Research frontiers and management implications” and “Pest control service provided by bats in Mediterranean rice paddies: linking agroecosystems structure to ecological functions”

  12. Children of the night says:

    “Compass orientation of a migratory bat species depends on sunset direction” (Forschungsverbund Berlin) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-04/fb-coo040419.php “…the experiment, which is published in Current Biology, indicates that this capacity is not inherited and first-time migrating young bats need to learn the importance of the solar disc at dusk for nightly orientation.”
    Soprano pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soprano_pipistrelle

  13. Fledermaus says:

    “Why do bats have such bizarrely long lifespans? Adjusting for their size, most of the longest lived mammals are bats.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/06/why-do-bats-have-such-bizarrely-long-lifespans/ …a new paper about longevity includes a remarkable statistic: “Nineteen species of mammals live longer than humans, given their body size, of which 18 are bats.” What is it about bats that’s so exceptional? Another new study takes a careful look at bat aging finds, at a time when most species are shutting down genes that help keep cells and tissues healthy, bats are cranking them up.
    “Longitudinal comparative transcriptomics reveals unique mechanisms underlying extended healthspan in bats” (Nature Ecology & Evolution 6/10/19) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0913-3
    …and in case you were wondering, the 19th longest lived mammal is the naked mole rat. [Methusaleh’s Zoo: How Nature provides us with Clues for Extending Human Health Span”, thttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021997509003624?via%3Dihub ]

  14. Cassandra says:

    Federal biologists have confirmed that the fungus that causes the deadly white-nose syndrome that has killed millions of bats in the United States has been detected in California for the first time. https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/A-deadly-fungus-is-killing-millions-of-bats-in-14074841.php Scientists are scrambling to find a solution to the epidemic, because bats fill a vital ecological role that also benefits humans.
    At night, they feast on mosquitoes — some of which transmit West Nile virus — and they also devour agricultural pests that damage cotton and corn crops. Recent studies estimate that the value of pest control provided by bats each year is at least $3.7 billion nationwide. They also pollinate the agave plant, which is used to make Tequila, as well as the saguaro, the state cactus of Arizona.

  15. Mike says:

    “Fungus threatens New Mexico bats with extinction” (August 12, 2019) https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/4-investigates-fungus-threatens-new-mexico-bats-with-extinction/5455321/?cat=500
    “Wing pathology of white-nose syndrome in bats suggests life-threatening disruption of physiology” (Nov. 2010) https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7007-8-135
    “Hanging in There: Some Vermont Bats Are Adapting to White-Nose Syndrome” (8/14/19) https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/hanging-in-there-some-vermont-bats-are-adapting-to-white-nose-syndrome/Content?oid=28220387

  16. Bartok says:

    Bats comprise roughly one fifth of all mammal species and deserts are home to over 150 bat species. They display wide variation in morphology, foraging behavior, and habitat use, making them an excellent indicator group for assessing how species respond to changes in their habitats.
    A new study from the University of Helsinki using miniaturized satellite-based tags revealed that during drier periods desert bats must fly further and longer to fulfil their nightly needs. According to researchers this signals their struggle in facing dry periods.
    Wildlife tracking has revolutionized the study of animal movement and their behavior. Yet, tracking small, flying animals such as desert bats remained challenging. Now a new generation of miniaturized satellite-based tags is allowing unique insights into the life of these mysterious mammals. https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/life-science-news/tiny-gps-backpacks-uncover-the-secret-life-of-desert-bats

  17. Mike says:

    It’s no coincidence that some of the worst viral disease outbreaks in recent years — SARS, MERS, Ebola, Marburg and likely the newly arrived 2019-nCoV virus — originated in bats. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-02/uoc–cor021020.php
    A new University of California, Berkeley, study finds that bats’ fierce immune response to viruses could drive viruses to replicate faster, so that when they jump to mammals with average immune systems, such as humans, the viruses wreak deadly havoc.
    Some bats — including those known to be the original source of human infections — have been shown to host immune systems that are perpetually primed to mount defenses against viruses. Viral infection in these bats leads to a swift response that walls the virus out of cells. While this may protect the bats from getting infected with high viral loads, it encourages these viruses to reproduce more quickly within a host before a defense can be mounted.
    This makes bats a unique reservoir of rapidly reproducing and highly transmissible viruses. While the bats can tolerate viruses like these, when these bat viruses then move into animals that lack a fast-response immune system, the viruses quickly overwhelm their new hosts, leading to high fatality rates.
    See also White-nose syndrome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-nose_syndrome and Holocene extinction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction

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