Pollination by bats is called chiropterophily.
Most of us are familiar with the process of pollination, where the pollen must be carried from the male stamen to the female pistil – and since plants are rooted, most species have to rely on other animals. One of these animals that plants rely on are bats. In fact, close to 530 species of flowering plants depend on bats, either as exclusive or major pollinators.
Explore More: What Is Pollination?
Pollination Process by Bats
The following is usually how a bat facilitates the process of pollination:
- Most bats are insectivorous, but a few species rely entirely on fruits and seeds. These fruit-eating bats fly to plants to drink or feed on nectar from flowers.
- In doing so, pollens from the flower stick to the hairs on the bat’s body
- The bat then flies to find other fruits and flowers, thereby transferring the pollen from the bat’s body to the new plant.
Bats are more efficient at facilitating the process of pollination because they can fly further than insect pollinators. Some species of bats (notably the leaf-nosed bats) can transport pollen up to 17km between plants. Pollination by bats also makes the plant more resistant to disease and pests.
Some plants are very dependent on bats that they have evolved specialized shapes and structures to accommodate bat pollinators.
Also Read: Types of Pollination
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