A fact about bats in celebration of Pollinator Week!
Male wrinkle-faced bats (Centurio senex) mask up but not for the same reasons as you or me. Males of this bat species will gather together during the breeding season to chirp songs and flap their wings while covering their face with a white flap of loose skin that strongly resembles a face mask. Scientists were recently able to observe that these behaviors precede matings and therefore the white mask may serve as a visual cue for courtship. The fact that males send out their courtship signals while lined up in a group suggests that these bats may be a lekking species, something that is still rarely known to occur in mammals.
Sketch contributed by Melissa Jones. Fact contributed by Adrian Perez
[Edited by Adrian Perez]
Source: Rodríguez-Herrera, B., Sánchez-Calderón, R., Madrigal-Elizondo, V., Rodríguez, P., Villalobos, J., Hernández, E., … & Tschapka, M. (2020). The masked seducers: Lek courtship behavior in the wrinkle-faced bat Centurio senex (Phyllostomidae). Plos one, 15(11), e0241063.