What do bats have to do with tequila? Quite a lot, it turns out. Up until recently, the lesser long-nosed bat was on the endangered species list. And it is the traditional pollinator of the blue agave plant—the single plant species that is responsible for Mexico’s greatest export, tequila.
Bats are creepy and mysterious to most of us, mainly because they are nocturnal. But they are endlessly fascinating to scientist (and National Georaphic grantee) Rodrigo Medellin. As a child growing up in Mexico City, he used to keep vampire bats in his bathroom, he tells us (see Mexican Bat Scientist May Save Tequila). After 30 years of mammal conservation work (yes, bats are mammals, too!), he was recently named president elect of the Society for Conservation Biology.
In this video, Medellin explains why bats are important to the key ingredient in your margarita.