Hairy Bat Tongue


This scanning electron microscope image of the tongue of the Pallas' long-tongued bat shows how the hairs on the surface stand up to catch liquid, turning it into a "nectar mop."
This is a close-up of a Pallas Bat tongue, which shows all the hairs it uses to sop up nectar on the wing. In the bat’s mouth, these hairs stay flat, but when the animal sees a flower with a promise of nectar, it increases blood pressure in the tongue, causing the hairs to pop up and the tongue to extend. Without the ability to increase and decrease the size of the tongue and lay the hairs flat, the Pallas wouldn’t be able to fit the huge muslce inside its mouth; when extended, the tongue can be at least twice the size of the bat’s head.
(via NPR)





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