Monday, January 18, 2010

This Bat is No Sucker

As reported in the National Geographic Daily News, the sucker-footed bat of Madagascar is no sucker.  Of 1200 bat species, only six roost hanging head up.  This bat was so named because of its ability to hang on slick leaves, a trait attributed to having suction cup like pads on its feet.
Not so, says a recent study.  Researchers used metal plates with tiny holes to spoil any suction effect and the bats hung on fine.  They use the same surface tension of water that "allows flies to hang on to smooth surfaces like glass ceilings … or wet paper to stick to your windshield."
Furthermore, they describe why they have to roost upright and how they let go.  The whole story is including videos is available at this Discover Magazine site.

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