Aug 21, 2009 | 3
Since it was first observed in New York in 2006, a bat-killing infection known as white-nose syndrome has spread across the eastern seaboard. More than a million bats of six different species have perished so far and infected caverns continue to be discovered. That's bad news since the fungus kills at least 90 percent of the bats it infects.
Even worse, the fungus may not be the culprit, but merely an opportunistic invader breaking out among bats already weakened by some other unknown factor.
Check out the fungus and efforts to fight the bat killer in this video:
Jul 30, 2009 | 3
Given fully functional wings, what animal wouldn’t prefer to fly? The lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata), as it turns out. The resident of New Zealand proves to be one of only two bats in the world that is just as comfortable scampering on the ground as it is soaring through the sky.
How did it pick up this trick? Not from recent island adaptation as previously presumed, but from an ancestor about 20 million years ago, according to a study published yesterday in Conservation Biology.
“The lesser short-tailed bat seems to be the sole survivor of an ancient Australian lineage now found only in New Zealand,” lead author Suzanne Hand said in a prepared statement.
Dec 9, 2008 | 1
Naming your kid after you is one thing. But imagine if an entire species were named for you.
This week, Purdue University is auctioning off the rights to name seven newly discovered bats and two turtles, the Associated Press is reporting. The winners — who will shell out a minimum of $250,000 for at least one of the bats, a Purdue spokesman told ScientificAmerican.com — can link their own name or that of a pal to the animal’s scientific name.
"Unlike naming a building or something like that, this is much more permanent. This will last as long as we have our society," John Bickham, who co-discovered the nine species, told the AP.
The practice of binomial nomenclature dates back to the 18th century, when Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus began classifying organisms with their genus name and species — sometimes dubbing plants or animals with the names of scientists he disliked. But buying the name is a recent development that’s occurred only in the past three years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
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Reward: $52,000 USD
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