Happy Cinco de Mayo! A toast to bats! ¡A murciélagos, Salud!

Long-nosed bat that pollinates Agave that give us tequila

Today while you celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a margarita or a shot of tequila, you should probably make a toast to bats. Why toast bats? Long-nosed bats specifically the Genus Leptonycteris are the main pollinators of Century Plants, aka Agave. Tequila comes from the distillation of juices from Agaves.

More information about long-nosed bats from bat experts Bat Conservation International.

“Long-nosed bats are medium-sized members of the family Phyllostomidae, weighing about one-half to one ounce (15-30 grams). As in other nectar-feeding bats, the tongue and muzzle are elongate, an adaptation for feeding on the nectar that accumulates in the interior of some flowers. The short ears and the small, triangular noseleaf are signs that these bats rely less on echolocation and probably more on their sense of smell to locate the flowers on which they feed. The two species in this genus can be distinguished from other North American nectar feeders by the narrow membrane between their legs and lack of a visible tail. Sanborn’s Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris sanborni) lives in the dry portions of the North American tropics, from El Salvador to northern Mexico, but in the summertime it also inhabits the subtropical zones of Arizona and New Mexico. The Mexican Long-nosed Bat (L. nivalis) prefers cooler, higher places, including the pine-oak woodlands and thorn forest from Central Mexico to Texas. Both species are migratory, at least in the northern part of their ranges.

Nectar and pollen are the main food items for long-nosed bats. Some plants, such as the Saguaro and Organ Pipe cacti, some species of agaves, and a variety of tropical species, open their flowers at night and attract bats with copious amounts of nectar. As bats feast on this sweet repast, their fur gets coated with pollen grains. When they fly to another plant in search of more food, they transfer the pollen to a new flower, assisting in cross-fertilization of the plants. Both the plant and the bat benefit from this relationship, and therefore are said to be mutualists. Scientists believe that this association is the result of the coevolution of bats and plants and that the dependence is so strong that the plants could not reproduce without the intervention of the bats, which would starve to death if the plants were not present. This relationship seemingly is quite sensitive to disturbance.”

¡A murciélagos, Salud!

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


About Mary Cummins Animal Advocates Real Estate Appraiser

Mary Cummins is President of Animal Advocates. She is licensed with the California Department of Fish & Game, USDA and the City of Los Angeles to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. Cummins speaks to local community groups and students about respecting wildlife and humane wildlife control. She is also a Humane Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. She has written manuals on small mammal rehabilitation besides numerous articles. She was born and raised in Southern California. She attended Beverly Hills Good Shepherd Catholic School and Beverly Hills High School. Besides being a member of Junior Mensa and on the Dean's list, she was a top ten national swimmer and competed on the men's water polo team. She began college at the age of 15 attending the University of Southern California on scholarship, majoring in Psychology/Sociology. After college Cummins became a licensed real estate agent specializing in income property in Los Angeles. She obtained her real estate appraisal license, real estate brokerage license and currently does real estate consulting, expert witness testimony and review appraisals at Cummins Real Estate Services.
This entry was posted in animal advocats, bat, bat conservation international, bats, cheers, cinco de mayo, feeder, leptonycteris, long-nosed, mary cummins, mexico, murcielagos, nectar, phyllostomidae, salud, toast. Bookmark the permalink.

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