The last in the series on our Species of Special Concern highlighted the different species of bats found in and around Griffith Park, and Miguel is now expanding this study further into the Los Angeles community thanks to grants from various organizations.
Miguel began his discussion by noting that bats represent 20% of all mammals – imagine – flying mammals. There are over 1,400 bat species WORLDWIDE, helpful in a variety of ways as they distribute seeds and save agriculture to the tune of over 23 BILLION dollars, consuming pests targeting such products like corn! Unlike our perception, most bats are NOT blind, but in many cases do use echolocation to locate food and navigate in the dark. Echolocation is a high-pitched sound wave, as Miguel demonstrated, one that humans cannot hear.
For all unfamiliar with what constitutes a mammal: mammals are warm-blooded, provide milk for their young, maintain a constant body temperature, have a spinal cord connected via vertebrae, and are covered with “furry” hairs which provide insulation in cold climates. BTW, we humans also fit this bill.
Also, contrary to the preponderance of vampire films presenting a negative view of the humble bat – bats primarily eat insects, although there are some “vampire” bats that feast primarily on cattle (further down in South America).
More information on how bats save the farmer can be accessed here.
Miguel Ordeñana attended USC (undergrad) and UC Davis (masters degree in ecology). Prior to his current occupation at the Natural History Museum, Miguel worked with Dr. Dan Cooper (Cooper Ecological Monitoring, Inc.). It was Miguel Ordeñana who first documented the entry of P-22 into Griffith Park.