Rodrigues Fruit Bats

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The Rodrigues Fruit Bats have been visualised using thermal infrared which allows us to see thermal energy or radiation more commonly referred to as heat. Thermal Infrared is found within the Infrared region on the electromagnetic spectrum. The different colours in the images represent different levels of thermal energy being emitted from an object. The imaging technology has been successfully used in animal studies to observe thermoregulation, their environment and behaviour, their population and habitat. In this image we see the fruit bats clearly within a noctural environment, thermography is particularly useful in the study of nocturnal species as the non-invasive technology allows us to see in the dark. The Rodrigues Fruit Bat almost became extinct in their native Mauritius in the 1970's until a captive breeding programme began in the UK in the early 1980's. This image was taken in the bat cave at Chester Zoo, UK. There are now 400 bats at the zoo as a result of the programme which started there in 1984. The fruit bats act as pollinators and seed dispersers in island ecosystems, which makes them vital for forest regeneration. Often called 'flying foxes' as a result of their long snouts, these flying mammals eat leaves, fruits or flowers of many different species of plant.

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