Behavioural ecology

Why bats like to perch in a pitcher

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
523,
Page:
259
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/523259b
Published online

Ch'ien C. Lee

Pitcher plants in Borneo have evolved specialized structures that attract bats, which roost inside the plants and fertilize them with their faeces.

Michael Schöner of the University of Greifswald in Germany and his colleagues bounced sonar waves off the rear inner wall of the pitcher plant Nepenthes hemsleyana and found that it reflected the sound much more clearly and strongly than did other species of pitcher plant. When they modified or removed the sound reflector, wild Hardwicke's woolly bats (Kerivoula hardwickii; pictured) took much longer to find the plant.

The authors suggest that such acoustically mediated symbiotic relationships may be more common than was thought.

Curr. Biol. http://doi.org/56c (2015)

Additional data