Self-feeding: a new type nutrition in bats

Many species of animals feed their cubs in unusual ways, and bats were among them. Scientists observing several species found that they feed the cubs not only milk, but also nectar.

In addition to traditional milk feeding, some types mammals are fed cubs, so to speak, from their own plate. These include the long-tongued leaf-bearing (Glossophaga soricina) and South American bat.

These species, like hummingbirds, feed on flower nectar. how recently found out studies, they, in addition to lactation, feed cubs burp nectar. This is the first registered evidence of this type of nutrition in bats.

The bat eats nectar

Study co-author Andreas Rose, ecologist from Ulm University, says that this discovery causes some intriguing questions. Among them – is this type of feeding justified? offspring. “Does mother really need less energy in this case, than with milk? “Andreas asks.

Scientists suggest that this behavior brings cubs non-nutritional benefits: for example, the mother conveys cubs need intestinal bacteria or train them social processes related to nutrition.


In addition to bats, other animals – fish, reptiles and invertebrates – use so unusual feeding methods offspring that mammalian lactation begins to seem obsolete in terms of convenience and evolution. For example, some species from real worm families grow a layer of oily skin before the birth of offspring and feed them cubs. A blue discus fish secretes nutrient mucus on the entire surface of the skin, which it feeds fry.

Evolution has given us amazing animals, inventing new ones and new ways of survival. And which way, in your opinion, is the most thoughtful and effective?

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