Pallid Bat Pollinating Cactus

Pallid Bat Pollinating Cactus

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Credit: Merlin D. Tuttle/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Pallid Bat pollinating a night-blooming cardon cactus flower (Pachycereus pringlei). This giant cactus can grow to a height of 60 feet or more and is the world's largest cactus. It grows only in Mexico, predominantly in the Northwest. It is a dominant plant over large aeras where a wide variety of wildlife depend on it for food and/or shelter. It relies heavily on bats for pollination. Dr. Winifred Frick, a bat biologist, and her husband Paul Heady, have recently discovered that, in addition to Lesser-long-nosed Bats (Leptonycterus yerbabuenae), this cactus also relies heavily on Pallid Bats (Antrozous pallidus) for pollination. In fact, their research indicates that pallid bats carry the most pollen, though probably not for as long distances as long-nosed bats. Previously, Pallid Bats were thought to feed only on large insects, scorpions and centipedes. Since these bats commonly catch large sphinx moths, which also visit cardon flowers (achieving

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Keywords: antrozous, antrozous pallidus, at flower, baja california sur, bat, cactus, cactus flower, cardon cactus, chiroptera, drinking nectar, feeding, loreto mexico, mammal, mexican wildlife, mexico fauna, microchiroptera, night-blooming cactus, nocturnal, pachycereus, pachycereus pringlei, pallid bat, pollen, pollinating, pollination, vespertilionidae

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