"Over the past two decades, bats have turned out to play host to all kinds of nasty viruses. Some of these can infect people; many, including Ebola and MERS, can be deadly. Most human outbreaks have been small, but the big fear is that a bat virus will mutate in a way that allows it to spread readily between people. This is what happened with SARS, which infected 8000 in almost 40 countries before being contained." —That's the lead-in to a slideshow entitled "Beware bats: Six species to avoid like the plague," which is pictures of bats. I am hard-pressed to recall something that seems like a more [...]
"White nose syndrome grows on bats' skin during the winter and irritates them, rousing them from hibernation. Not used to being awake when it is so cold, the bats burn so much energy trying to stay warm that they deplete their fat reserves, and eventually become too weak to fly or catch food." -Discovery reports on the New York State Department of Health finding that fluconazole, a drug commonly used to cure athlete's foot in humans, is effective in fighting a fungal disease that has killed more than a million bats over the past four years. Now the challenge is to figure out how to apply the [...]
"A new genus of bat, with distinctive badger-like black and white markings, has been identified in South Sudan, U.S. researchers say." Oh sure, there are photos.
Just in time for Halloween: Chinese scientists investigating the mating habits of short-nosed fruit bats observed that the female bats frequently perform fellatio on the males during intercourse, and that mating sessions were shown to last longer when fellatio was performed. Which is a valuable lesson that everyone out there should take to heart, am I right, fellas? (There is actual bat blowjob video at the link, if you are so inclined.)
The new Bat for Lashes song is not another "Laura." (Which will rank high on my "best songs of 2012" list.) But it's certainly not bad. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, it sounds quite a bit like that Gotye song that is good but that you're surely sick of by now. In other bat news, bats hate the moon. And rightly so.
Remember that hot Science Times article from this summer explicating just how fireflies' light flashes are a call-and-response mating system? "In at least some species," wrote bug smut peddler Carl Zimmer, of stuff he learned from Tufts University evolutionary ecologist Dr. Sara Lewis. "Females may use flashes to pick out males with the biggest gifts." ("Nuptial gifts" being coiled packages of protein males fireflies inject into female fireflies along with their sperm.) Well, turns out that the phosphorescent flashes serve another, less sexy purpose, too.