In a "is it Friday yet?" kind of way, I thought I would share this little post. A recent paper in PLoS One by Orbach et al. presents results showing that frugivorous and nectarivorous bats do not appear to be affected by consuming alcohol. The authors fed bats either a sugar solution or sugar+alcohol (strawberry daquiri?) solution. They then gave the bats an aerial obstacle course to test their speed and agility. They also recorded the bats' echolocation calls. Although there were differences between the species that they tested, there were no observed effects of treatment - the "drunk" bats did just as well as the "sober" bats. This was true, even though the estimated BAC's of the bats were sometimes very high - more than 0.3%. Thus, these bats seem perfectly capable of utilizing rotting fruits as food sources with no chiropteran "slurred speech" and little or no danger to themselves or others. Large, virtually hairless primates such as ourselves, do not appear so well adapted and should exercise caution.
I give thanks to Sam Crane who patiently walked me through PhotoShop again so I could make this picture.
Wrap up of talk by Rich Lenski at UC Davis
19 hours ago