Hanging Around with Bats

Definitions and Context

Adaptation: traits developed over time that help organisms meet their basic needs and survive.
Context: The bat's ability to use echolocation is an adaptation for capturing food and flying in the dark.

Echolocation: the ability to create a mental map of surroundings based on echoes
Context: Bats use echolocation to navigate and hunt where it is too dark to see.

Insectivore: insect-eating animal
Context: Most Texas bats are insectivores, eating many bugs that are harmful to crops.

Migration: seasonal movement of animals, fish and birds in search of food or shelter, sometimes covering great distances
Context: Some species of bats migrate to a warmer climate to deal with cold winters, others hibernate.

Morphology: description of an organism's form and structure, with special emphasis on external features.
Context: The morphology of a bat’s face, including tragus, noseleaf, and ear shape may give clues to how it echolocates.

Nectar: sugary fluid produced by a plant to attract pollinators
Context: Some bats eat the nectar of plants.

Nocturnal: active at night
Context: Bats are nocturnal and sleep during the day.

Noseleaf: The fleshy flap on the front of the nose of some bats.
Context: The nose leaf on some bats is big and wrinkled, making the whole face look strange.

Pollinator: an animal or insect that carries pollen from one flower to another.
Context: Some plants depend on pollination by bats for fruit development.

Species: a population of animals that are more or less alike and that are able to breed and produce fertile offspring under natural conditions; a category of biological classification immediately below the genus or subgenus.
Context: There are over 30 species of bats here, making Texas the battiest state in the country!

Tragus: the bump in front of the opening to the ear.
Context: The tragus on humans is small and inconspicuous, but on some bats it is large and ornate, defining the shape of the face.

Weaned: when a young animal starts feeding on something other than its mother's milk
Context: Young bats are weaned