Oct 6, 2008

Not for Wallflowers

Photo source: un-ulm.de
Ever since I was a boy, I've had an issue with hammerhead sharks being called hammerhead sharks. They don't look like they have hammer heads to me. Maybe a spade or even an axe, but not a hammer. So when Jessen forwarded this photo of a hammerhead bat , I was dubious.

But then I saw the photo below, and I was sold on the name (you'll notice that I feel quite a bit of angst over biological nomenclature--talk about borrowing trouble).

Hypsignathus monstrosus (love the species name), is a native of the swamps and riverine, mangrove, and palm forests of Senegal and Angola. These two specimens are male, as demonstrated by their elaborate snouts (being a sexually dimorphic species, the females have regular fox noses).

For all you wallflowers, or men who have trouble finding dates, be thankful you aren't a hammerhead bat (as if you needed another reason). These bats practice what's known as 'arena mating'. Large groups of them gather around river beds. The males line up on trees in 10 meter intervals and begin calling out and honking to attract the females. With a group of around 150 individuals, this results in some loud vocalization. When a female chooses her mate, the male makes a buzzing noise, they copulate for 30-60 seconds, and then go their own ways. This happens twice a night during mating season. The evening session is usually much more productive, but the females do show up for the 4am round, for all those males who couldn't get their act together earlier in the night. Well, that's nice of the females. More forgiving than a lot of other species (captive mantids come to mind...).

Thanks for the photo, Jessen.

Photo source: abovetopsecret.com

5 comments:

Denita TwoDragons said...

The first pic totally reminds me of when I was a kid. I'd mash my face against the bus window and blow hard until my cheeks puffed out and my mouth was a gigantic obscene O with my teeth all exposed, and I'd scare the living daylights out of some little old lady in the car next to us at the stop light...

Oh c'mon, don't lie and tell me you didn't do that as a kid, too. 'Fess up!

--TwoDragons

Flartus said...

Pucker up, ladies, here they come! Blechh...

Kit said...

Oh wow, this is like the elephant seal of the bat world. NOSE JOB! Fruit bats are usually so cute... these guys... not so much.

Zanna said...

The first pic horrified me. Then I saw the second, and I was like... aww. The freaky things in nature can be sort of cute too, he's got a Bullwinkle schnozzle with a fleur-de-lis on the front...

bonnie-ann black said...

i thought it looked more like a moose -- "moose bat" is almost more attractive than "hammerhead" -- which sounds like an insult you throw at one of your friends. "you... you... HAMMERHEAD!" (picture small child running away).

i love bats whatever their probiscus.