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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Coffee! Bats more dangerous than mothballs?

A reader kindly shares this BBC story with me, "Bat and moth arms race revealed" (19 August 2010 ) by Jason Palmer.
In a strategy that may be a moth-hunting adaptation, some bats are known to use clicks that are at a frequency, or pitch, either above or below moths' hearing ranges.

High-pitched clicks have a larger range, while lower-pitched clicks are absorbed less by the atmosphere It remains unclear whether these pitch-shifting techniques adapted specifically to bypass moth defences or simply to cope in certain environments or situations.

Dr ter Hofstede and her colleagues were able to listen in on the Barbastella bat as it hunted, demonstrating that it had a completely different approach - its clicks were much reduced in volume, becoming even quieter as it closed in on prey.

"It seems like the majority of bats... call very loudly because they need as much information as possible from their surroundings," Dr ter Hofstede told BBC News.

"We're saying that this [low-volume tactic] is an adaptation to get around the moths' defence - it doesn't have any other useful purpose."

While the lower volume of clicks reduces the range over which the bats can successfully hunt, the team showed that the approach leads to Barbastella bats eating significantly higher numbers of the nutrient-rich moths than other, louder species.
The information race between bats and a favoured prey, moths, is described as an arms race (it is actually a race to interpret clicks. Neither party is armed, and certainly not the moth.)

As is characteristic of legacy mainstream media, the story must all be interpreted dogmatically through Darwinist theory. But what's missing from this very interesting account is how - exactly - the information race could evolve. "Natural selection" is increasingly evoked as a mere incantation, in the face of ever-growing awareness of complexity that are beyond its powers. That is, natural selection must be the cause because we "know" it is true.

By the way, there is a great closeup of a moth's face.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

How drunken bats get sober - straight from the lab to you just when you need it

Yes, the long-feared moral decline in bat species is true:
Bats often risk getting drunk off cocktails of alcohol that stew inside ripened fruit. And just as driving is dangerous for intoxicated humans, so is flying for boozy bats.

Now scientists find bats are savvy enough to dine on certain types of fruit sugar to help them get over the ill effects of alcohol. These findings could shed light on how wildlife deals with alcohol.

Bats make up one-quarter of all mammal species. Almost one-third of all bats live on the juices of fruits and the nectar of flowers.


Who said pure science wasn't practical ... Nonsense!

Prediction: Bats will turn out to have vastly better morning-after remedies than anything invented by humans. And that is doubtless part of the reason there are so darn many bats.

Meanwhile, researchers also learned,
Curiously, even though sucrose did not appear to help combat intoxication as well as fructose did, the fruit bats preferred food that contained sucrose over foods with either fructose or glucose, regardless of whether or not there was alcohol in the food.

It was suggested that bats just prefer sucrose. And why not? Even fruit flies apparently have free will. Go here and here for more on fruit flies and free will.

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