Did you know male hammer-headed bats actually honk to get the attention of females? The hammer-headed bat, a fruit-eating bat and Africa's largest bat, is also one of the strangest looking bats I've ever seen.
Male hammer-headed bats, with a three-foot (0.91 m) wingspan, are more than twice the size of females. They are the most sexually dimorphic (meaning males and females are physically different) bat species in the world.
Why are the males so much larger? Because these bats have to sing to get sex. The males are highly physically adapted to create sounds that are pleasing to the females. The male's larynx (voice box) is half the length of its entire body, so large that the heart, lungs, and GI tract are arranged in different places to accommodate it. And the male's snout is greatly enlarged because of the large resonating chambers to increase sound production.
Male hammer-headed bats gather in groups, hanging upside down in the trees, and begin calling, emitting a loud metallic honking noise. Females hear this from a distance and come to choose a mate. The females are quite picky, and they fly by all the males, ignoring those with less pleasing calls, until they find a caller that meets their high standards.
Basically, it's a high-stakes sing-off.
- Hammer-headed bat - Sarah H. Olson , Gerard Bounga, Alain Ondzie, Trent Bushmaker, Stephanie N. Seifert, Eeva Kuisma, Dylan W. Taylor, Vincent J. Munster, Chris Walzer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
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