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This cactus (Espostoa frutescens, Cactaceae) is endemic to a single river valley in Ecuador. Members of this genus, to varying degrees, produce woolly hairs on the flowering sides of their branches. These are most prominently seen in Espostoa frutescens. Locals referred to it as el viejito (the old man cactus). The woolly “fur” is an adaptation to help bats locate its flowers. A large proportion of columnar cacti rely on bats as primary pollinators (see National Geographic, June 1991). E. frutescens blooms only at night and produces copious pollen and nectar. My photographs provide the first documentation of its being pollinated by bats. Habitat, Pollination
MM8034120515EC21936HDRAndesCactaceaeEcuadorMerlin Tuttle's Bat ConservationNational Geographic photographyOld man's cactus Cactaceae Espostoa frutescensSouth AmericaSusudelbatbat conservationcutemammalmyngmeditphotographywildlife photography