Intern will lead study about tent-making bats

Reserva Playa Tortuga has received a new intern from HAS University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands) called Michelle Bakker, who will work during 20 weeks in the study “Characterization of the tent-making bat species present at the RPT”.

demo1The methodology is to walk 3 times per week to find the tents where the bats sleep and hang out. Those tents are found off the tracks of the reserve. Even though is not very easy, these can be recognized because of the holes the bats make by biting and chewing the veins and midribs of leaves.

Once the tents are found, Michelle sets the GPS location; count the number of bats; identify the plant species, the shape of the tent, and also with the help of RPT staff, catch the bats to identify the sex.

bat2She normally finds groups of maximum 10 bats, where there are around 5 babies.

There are 17 tent-making species, and so far Michelle has identified 2 of them.  She still has a few months left so hopefully some more species can be found.

The bats are flying mammals, and play an important role in many environments around the world. Some plants depend partly or wholly on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds, while other bats also help control pests by eating insects. In this area, they don’t have predators, and mainly they eat fruits and insects.

bat3

Photo credits © Michelle Bakker

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