The essential link

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A Long-tongued bat (Glossophaga longirostris elongata) visiting the flower of a Kadushi (Cereus repandus)

The actors in this first post of 2012 are members of the order Chiroptera, better known as bats. These animals fully deserve to be put in the spotlights, in my opinion, and not in the least because without them the entire ecology of Curaçao would collapse. The natural systems of Islands like ours, especially the semi-arid ones, rest on the foundation provided by a family of plants, scientifically known as Cactacea. No one needs a grade in biology to translate that name into something mainstream. In biological terms, especially the pillar cacti are the champs. During the dry season these are the only plants to carry flowers and fruits, which in turn are essential survival rations to lots of animals species. About the bats-cacti interaction a lot has been published lately. A good thing, because the pollination services the nectarivorous bats provide to the cactus flowers keep the cacti, so called key-stone species in scientific terms, alive and well.

We will highlight all bat species known to occur on Curaçao (and our neighboring Islands) during the coming months. For me, these animals are one of the most intriguing elements in the local ecology. Years of counting population sizes, and observations of their ways of living have instilled a sense of awe in me. As you can tell by now: I love bats!

Leon Pors

About Leon Pors