Why some bats hunt during the day
Bats that brave the daylight are teaching us about why most of their kin are nocturnal in the first place.
Twenty miles east of the Malay Peninsula sits Tioman Island, a speck of land blanketed in dense rainforest and golden, sandy shores. Hundreds of species inhabit the island, including oddities such as a land-walking catfish, a “flying lemur” called a colugo, and most recently discovered, a bat that hunts during the day.
Yes—you read that correctly. Scientists have observed several Blyth’s horseshoe bats zipping after forest insects in broad daylight, day after day.
The behavior distinguishes them from almost every other species of bat in the world—from Mexico to Vietnam—because those bats hunt at night.
“This is a particularly interesting case on the island,” says Marcus Chua, a graduate student at George Mason University who described the horseshoe bats’ behavior earlier this year