This next adventure takes us to Baja California Sur of Mexico. We’re hoping to provide the first photographic documentation of insect-eating pallid bats pollinating the world’s largest cactus, the cardon, which lives exclusively in Mexico and is especially abundant in the arid Baja.
Some 25 years ago Merlin first observed pallid bats visiting saguaro cactus flowers near Kino Bay, Mexico, but could not be certain that they were actually playing a significant role as pollinators. Now bat biologists Fred Frick and her husband Paul Heady have not only documented that these normally insect-eating bats routinely visit cardon flowers, but also that they are highly efficient pollinators.
On this trip we’ll meet them at their study site in Loreto on the Baja Peninsula in an attempt to further document their findings. Merlin has previously photographed pallid bats capturing scorpions and centipedes but considers this to be a substantially greater challenge. We’ll arrive tomorrow, and I’m very much hoping to report progress in the coming week.