Lesser long-nosed bats play an important and unique role in maintaining the desert ecosystem of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. As one of three bat species in North America that feed on nectar, these mammals are responsible for pollinating cacti and agave plants across the region. And it's not just the plants that benefit: Bat pollination is critical to the blue agave plants from which tequila is made—a fact that just may save this endangered species.
This bat species is part of the leaf-nosed bat family, meaning they have a triangular flap of tissue shaped like a leaf at the end of their noses. Those noses help them detect the scent of blooming flowers, but it’s