How bats help us ?
Not all of us know how useful bats are to us. Let us find out how.
There are many insects which damage our fruits and crops. We call them pests. Bats control their population as they eat these insects. One insect-eating bat can catch 500-1000 insects in one hour! This is very helpful to farmers.
Can you recall the Free Tail Bats about whom we read about while learning about Migration?
They are experts in eating insects at a fast rate and are Nature’s gift for farmers!
The pictures below show them eating different insects.
One another way in which they are helpful is Pollination. Have you heard of it?
It is the way plants produce another plants.
Let us see how does it happen.
Flowers on every plant have a male part called “ anther” and a female part called “pistill”, in the middle. A powder like material called pollen is found on these anthers. Megabats, who eat flower and fruits pick up these anthers while they are feeding on the nectar of a flower. When they move on to another flower they drop these pollens inside its pistill. Inside these pistills, the second plant forms its seed. When these seeds are being fully formed, the flower changes its form to fruit. This is how we find seeds inside these fruits.
The story is not yet over!
Bats come once again to eat these fruits and after eating them drop the seeds around the plant. This seed finds nourishment from the soil and grows up to become a new plant of the same kind with flowers and anthers and pistills in it! Bats will come again for the nectar of these flowers.
Plants give them nectar and they help the plants by pollinating and dispersing their seeds, therefore helping them to produce their baby plants.
Let us look at these photographs to see what we have learned.
photo 9.1 photo 9.2
The first photograph on the top left shows you Anthers which have their tips full of a red powdery substance called Pollen. The three green parts in the middle are called Pistil.
You can see bats suckling nectar from these flowers. While doing so, pollens get stuck to their hairy skin and they drop these into a pistil of another flower, where a seed grows out of it and the flower itself grows into a fruit.
Bats again come to eat these fruits and drop seeds around, in the soil. From there, new plants grow out of these seeds. Bats help plants produce their baby plants.
Do you know how important this pollination is to us?