Bats Use Body Odor to Sniff Out the Best Mates

Is love in the eye of the beholder? Perhaps among humans it is, but not so in other mammals. In the case of some bats, love is detected by nose. In the bat family Emballonuridae at least one of its 51 species (and likely more) uses the sense of smell to find the mate with the greatest genetic diversity.

Previous research had shown these bats do not choose a mate via color displays or elaborate mating dances, the way many other animals do. Rather, Santos and his team focused on odor. About 30 years ago it was discovered males of species such as S. bilineata (striped bat) create their own “perfume” by mixing urine, saliva and penile secretions, which they place in their wing bags. But the reason for this complex behavior remained uncertain.

Read More at Scientific American.

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