“The bat with the incredibly long tongue”

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Anoura fistulata; its tongue (pink) can extend to 150% of body length
(Image: Murray Cooper)

“A rare South American bat turns out to have a spectacularly long tongue. At up to 150% the length of its body, it is proportionally the longest of any mammal.

The bat appears to have evolved its incredible tongue in order to feed exclusively from a tubular flower found in the “cloud forests” of Ecuador.”

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Anoura fistulata pollinating a specialised flower of Centropogon nigricans; only A. fistulata
can reach the nectar because of the flower’s long corolla (Image: Nathan Muchhala)

I showed this to my daughter and she worked out that if her tongue had similar proportions then it would be 213cm long. She was somewhat concerned that it would keep picking up dirt and dog hair – always a hazard in our house…

For another bat story in the news see: Magnetic field puts bats on track.