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   Undertoad  Friday Dec 8 08:31 AM

December 8, 2006: Tongue bat



Pie points to this New Scientist article on the bat with the incredibly long tongue. xoB also found a copy.

Quote:
A rare South American bat turns out to have a spectacularly long tongue. At up to 150% the length of its body, it is proportionally the longest of any mammal.

The bat appears to have evolved its incredible tongue in order to feed exclusively from a tubular flower found in the cloud forests of Ecuador.

Nectar bats' tongues have tiny hairs on the end, which they use to mop up nectar and pollen from within flowers. The plants gain from this relationship by depositing pollen on the bat's head, which it spreads from flower to flower.

Anoura fistulata is only the size of a mouse, but its tongue is around 8.5 centimetres long -- more than double the tongue-length of similar nectar bats. Compared with its body, a tongue of this size is second only to the chameleon in terms of vertebrates, and it is the longest of all the mammals.

"It's like a cat being able to lap milk from two feet away," says Nathan Muchhala of University of Miami, Florida, US, who first discovered the species in 2003.



Spexxvet  Friday Dec 8 08:38 AM

You can't tell he doesn't have an appreciative girlfriend.



milkfish  Friday Dec 8 08:40 AM

Beating out Gene Simmons for the record narrowly.



Sheldonrs  Friday Dec 8 09:21 AM

No wonder they are rare. With a tongue like that, they can take care of "business" all by themselves.



astrodex  Friday Dec 8 09:26 AM

Exactly where does he put that thing when he's not using it?



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Dec 8 12:40 PM

His girlfriend's name is Blossom.



DanaC  Friday Dec 8 12:43 PM

Quote:
His girlfriend's name is Blossom.
Hahaha. Well done.


milkfish  Friday Dec 8 12:52 PM

I think maybe it's a she-bat. Enjoying her bat mitzvah...

Who wants to speculate on how these little critters taste roasted? (Scroll to the bottom.)



barefoot serpent  Friday Dec 8 12:58 PM

something like burnt chicken?



Elspode  Friday Dec 8 08:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrodex
Exactly where does he put that thing when he's not using it?
I think I saw a related article recently. Don't they actually retract the organ into their rib cages or something weird like that?

Wonder how soup made from that tongue would taste?


OwenKL  Friday Dec 8 09:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrodex
Exactly where does he put that thing when he's not using it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkfish
Beating out Gene Simmons for the record narrowly.
To quote from the news article on the National Geographic site, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...gue-photo.html
Quote:
It's enough to give Gene Simmons (inset) appendage envy. Despite a '70s rock rumor, the Kiss bassist did not have his tongue surgically replaced with a cow's. But could Anoura fistulata tempt him to go batty?
A. fistulata (shown lapping sugar water from a tube) has the longest tongue, relative to body length, of any mammal—and now scientists think they know why.
"This bat was just discovered last year, and now we've observed a very unique relationship with a local flower," said Nathan Muchhala, a University of Miami Ph.D. student whose team's findings are to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature.
Found in an Andean cloud forest in Ecuador, A. fistulata (aka the tube-lipped nectar bat) evolved mutually with an extremely long, bell-shaped flower, the team says. In fact, armed with a tongue that retracts into the bat's rib cage, A. fistulata is now the only animal that can pollinate the flower.
[img src=http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/12/images/061206-tongue-photo_big.jpg[/img]


cbane  Friday Dec 8 09:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elspode
I think I saw a related article recently. Don't they actually retract the organ into their rib cages or something weird like that?
I don't know if this is the article that you saw, but it's where I heard about this bat, and it has a diagram of how the bat stores its tongue. And yes, they do retract their tongues into their chests.


SPUCK  Saturday Dec 9 12:58 AM

Let's not have any wagging...



wolf  Saturday Dec 9 01:43 AM

Oh, TONGUE.

Until I looked at the picure I was trying to figure out what continent (pron. ton-GAY) the country was on ...



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