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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.