Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Drunk fruits-bats crave sweets

Speaking of ScienceDaily, I saw this wonderful headline there

Bats Get The Munchies Too!

It's certainly much better than the title of the presentation of the findings it refers to, which is "Ethanol and sugars as complementary resources for Egyptian fruit bats". Boring.

The information in the ScienceDaily article is pretty interesting as well.

Many of us will be familiar with cravings for sweet food, after having overindulged in alcohol the night before. It appears that Egyptian fruit bats also crave particular types of sugar to reduce the effects of ethanol toxicity.

[...]

The concentration of ethanol rises in fleshy fruits, such as figs and dates, as they ripen. Egyptian fruit bats prefer these fruits when they are ripe, however high concentrations of ethanol (around 1%) are toxic to the animals. Intoxicated bats may also be less able to respond to attacks from predators, and to avoid obstacles (much like us humans, some might say!). The sugar molecule, fructose, is known to reduce the toxicity of ethanol. Therefore, scientists investigated the effect of consuming fructose on ethanol toxicity in Egyptian fruit bats, and whether the fruit bats preferred food containing sucrose after they had consumed ethanol.


Unfortunately the findings doesn't seem to be online yet, but when searching for it, I found out that the author of the presentation, Dr. Francisco Sanchez, apparently is an authority on Egyptian fruit-bats and ethanol. Or, he has at least made two other studies on the subjects.

1) The Possible Roles of Ethanol in the Relationship Between Plants and Frugivores: First Experiments with Egyptian Fruit Bats

2) Ethanol and Methanol as Possible Odor Cues for Egyptian Fruit Bats

See, this is how you become an expert - specialize!

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