Origins: From Jungle to Lab.  The Story of Life's Complexity
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Bats in Belize. Live @ Exploratorium. Thursday, Oct.31, 2002, 11a.m.

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Join us in our Webcast studio or on the Web as we talk to the London Natural History Museum's curator Richard Harbord and photographer Frank Greenaway in Belize.

Richard, who curates the Natural History Museum's mammal collection, and Frank, who's been involved in bat conservation for decades, will be in Belize for three weeks to examine and identify bats living near the museum's Las Cuevas Research Station.

This is Richard's first "field trip," and we'll learn from him the challenges of identifying live animals in the field. Richard will help catch the bats, and we'll ask him to share the techniques he's developed for capturing and photographing these elusive creatures.

There are probably about seventy species of bats in the Las Cuevas area. Different species use different parts of the forest, from tiny round-winged bats that can move easily through the undergrowth, to bats that hunt over water, to those that pursue prey near the treetops. By setting their nets in different parts of the forest structure, Richard and Frank will be able to capture a variety of species.

The bat is an ancient mammal that probably evolved from an insectivore that fed on flying insects—it's the only mammal adapted for flight—and it hasn't changed much in millions of years. But because bats' lives are so separate from ours, there's still much to be learned about them.

Bat Facts
image: bats
Frank Greenaway Hear nature photographer and Webcast guest Frank Greenaway talk about his interest in bats and the challenges he faces when photographing them.
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