Bats! Bats! Bats!

Big fruit bats, vampire bats with razor sharp teeth, and the cutest fluffy white bat with yellow ears, and an interesting leaf-shaped nose.

In the latest biomimicry booklet I slipped by accident into medical applications inspired by nature. And it was the Hoduran white bat that sparked the initial idea.

Honduran white bat has the ability to store a yellow pigment called lutein in its ears and nose. Yellow pigments play significant roles in human health, particularly the health of eyes. Studying this cute tent-making bat may lead to insights into how to use these yellow pigments to prevent macular degeneration. Macular diseasis a form of blindness – blurred or no vision in the center of the visual field.

Caring for the natural world is imporant for several reasons. And studying bats give students a chance to explore ways that bats are helping us. Bats have a bad reputation and they are linked to Halloween and Dracula. But bats are fascinating inspirational creatures and the world would be a lesser place without them – several species are endangered.

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