Chiropterophily – Pollination by Bats

Bats are another pollinator. Over 500 plants, including bananas and cocoa (the key ingredient in chocolate), rely on bats for pollination. The scientific term of for bat pollination is “chiropterophily.”

Since bats are nocturnal, they pollinate at night. You’ll find the plants they pollinate have white or light colored nocturnal flowers. Yes, flowers that bloom in the dark. Often, the flowers are bell-shaped and the bats have adapted to reaching into the “bell” to reach the nectar at the bottom.

The photo below is of a lesser long-nosed bat pollinating. The bat’s head is inside the bell shaped flower. You can see the bat’s eye and its ear. Merlin D. Tuttle with Bat Conservation International took this amazing photo.