World's Smelliest Fruit Might Not Exist Without This Giant Bat
Camera traps confirm flying foxes in Southeast Asia pollinate economically valuable durian fruit trees.
It’s nicknamed the “king of fruits” in Southeast Asia, where the durian is a popular treat. Now scientists are learning the famously stinky delicacy has an important and surprising friend in nature: the island flying fox, a large species of bat.
Flying foxes get a bad rap for damaging crops. But footage from camera traps in Malaysia, documented in a study recently published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, show that flying foxes are actually important pollinators of the commercially valuable food.
A spiky tropical fruit known for its pungent odor and unique taste, durian (Durio zibethinus) is a valuable crop in countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, though its stench makes it off-limits in some places.
“Research like this on the