Quick Hit: Desert bats, staving-off dehydration by the skin of their wings

The researchers found total water loss in the desert-living Pipistrellus kuhli was just 80 percent of other nondesert species. (Photo/Sahi Pilosof)

Desert-dwelling bats lose water at a slower rate than non-desert bats, a new study finds. And their secret appears to be skin deep. Researchers from the Ben-Gurion University in Israel looked at the desert bat Pipistrellus kuhli, and found that the amount of fat in the skin helped stem water loss. Animals typically lose water through evaporation from the skin or from the mouth and nose when breathing. This finding helps explain how an animal with bare wings that expends so much energy in flight can survive in such an arid environment. Researchers, lead by Dr. Muñoz-Garcia plan to look at eight other species of desert bat to see if the same holds true for them.

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