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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Why Bats Don't Like Rain
3 May 2011 7:01 pm
Some bats keep flying in a light drizzle, but they take shelter when there's serious rain. A new study published online today in Biology Letters finds one reason why: Bats have to work harder to fly when their fur and wings are wet. In a series of trials in Costa Rica, scientists studied Sowell's short-tailed fruit bats as they flew around a large octagonal cage. Sometimes they first dampened the bats with tap water; sometimes the bats flew wet and in the rain. Bats used about twice as much energy when they were wet as when they were dry, the team found. Flying in the rain didn't make a difference, which ruled out some kind of mechanical problem caused by raindrops hitting wings, nor did the actual weight of the water. The scientists think that wet bats, like most wet mammals, are cold, so they have to work harder to stay warm. And with water mussing their silky fur and dampening their wings, bedraggled bats might also be less aerodynamic.
See more ScienceShots.