Pollination - Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation

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A Commissaris's long-tongued bat (Glossophaga commissarisi) is about to eat a tiny male flower of the caligallo palm. This is a stemless, understory, rainforest plant. It is highly specialized for bat pollination. A plant can produce both male and female flowers, but only one sex at a time. Tiny flowers are produced on inflorescent spikes that protrude vertically from the plant center for about 3 feet. A spike produces only male flowers for 5 nights, then produces no flowers for 3 nights, followed by female flowers for 2 nights. Early in the evening male flowers are firmly attached to the inflorescent spike, but they become progressively easier to remove. By the time bats arrive, they are easily pulled loose and eaten. In the process, pollen becomes attached to bat fur. Pollination

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