Light Pollution Threatens Bats, Biodiversity

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Light pollution is interrupting the regular lives of bats, and along with it the seed-dispersal service they provide.

New research suggests light pollution is interrupting the nocturnal feeding habits of fruit eating bats, and along with it the seed-dispersal service they provide.

As they are one of the animal species that tends to the matter best, the natural rebuilding of tropical rainforests could be at risk.

The study focused on the habits of bats that dine on the fruit of pepper plants and found the mammals are reluctant to forage in conditions other than total darkness.

The research began by observing specimens in captivity.

Scientists found that even the presence of dim lighting kept the bats from taking full advantage of the food provided for them.

Next, examples of how light affects fruit bats were observed in the wild.

Researchers learned that plants placed under the light of a street lamp were far less likely to be explored.

They concluded that light in general could have far-reaching implications on the natural feeding and subsequent seed-spreading habits of the species.

That’s particularly bad news for areas such as cleared rain forests in South America, as it’s among their best hopes of being replanted.

The scientists suggest that darkened areas be established to help direct bats to travel further distances.

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