Bats have major cultural importance, especially in Asia. But perhaps the greatest significance of bats to humans stems from their insectivorous diet. A single vespertilionine can eat thousands of insects a night, and many of these arthropods are seen as pest species. For instance, bats help control populations of mosquitoes, flies, moths, beetles, and other insects. While decreases in fly or mosquito populations are readily seen as a benefit for all humans, unchecked populations of beetles, moths, and other pest species can cause significant damage to agricultural crops and forests.
In addition, many vespertilionine bats are very susceptible to pesticides and other chemicals, making them good bio-indicators. These bats carry rabies and other zoonotic diseases of concern to humans.
A silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) rests on a tree trunk. Himalayan pipistrelle (Pipistrellus babu) communal roosting spot. (Photo
(Photo by Alvin E. Staffan/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by per- by Harald Schütz. Reproduced by permission.)
1. Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus); 2. Eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus); 3. Bamboo bat (Tylonycteris pachypus); 4. Noctule (Nyctalus noctula); 5. Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii); 6. Evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis); 7. Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus). (Illustration by Emily Damstra)
1. Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus); 2. Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus); 3. Allen's big-eared bat (Idionycteris phyllotis); 4. Spotted bat (Euderma maculatum); 5. Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus); 6. Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans); 7. Western barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus). (Illustration by Emily Damstra)
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