The downloadable documents below give clues and tips on how to identify between bat species. If you are loaning an Anabat or SM2 detector this is not important as we can determine species by using the software, but it is obviously more fun if you and determine this for yourself! Don’t forget, bats cannot read! So they do not always follow the rules. If you are not sure on a species don’t worry about it too much. It is better to have an undetermined identification than it is to have a wrongly determined identification.
Bat friendly tequila
Next time you lift an ice cold margarita or a shot of tequila, say a little thank you to the group of Mexican long tongued and long nosed bats that have helped to create your drink. Many are unaware of just how important this group of bats are at pollinating the Agave Tequilana plant that last year produced 273 million litres of tequila providing $1.3billion in export for the Mexican economy.
Traditionally agave plantations have evolved alongside bat, insect and butterfly populations that pollinate the plants at night, increasing genetic diversity and helping to protect crops from disease and pests. Changes towards more intensive farming methods have now led to farmers cutting the plants before they have flowered to increase the crops sugar content as so much of the plants sugar and energy reserves are required to flower. This practice is removing a food source from local bat populations and putting the health of plant crops at risk. Mexican agave populations have become ‘cloned’ and very genetically similar meaning that any outbreak of fungus or disease can wipe out huge areas of plantation and put an entire year’s production at risk. Groups such as the tequila interchange project are aiming to help bat populations and protect agave crops with their mission to encourage farmers to use more sustainable and traditional farming practices. By convincing farmers to let just 5% of their agave crop flower before cutting they are helping to save bat populations, encourage farmers to use less pesticides and to increase the genetic resistance of crops. For an industry that has grown 60% in the last ten years this small change could make a large difference in helping entire ecosystems to flourish and become more resistant.
Many tequila brands such as Ocho tequila now proudly bear the bat friendly logo on their bottles and can claim that they are helping to bring bat populations back from critically low levels and the endangered species list. So next time you are shopping in the spirits aisle or ordering at a bar, have a look for the holographic bat sticker that lets you know that you are helping in this vitally important cause.