13th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Frozen in time
The Earth without bats would be a very different and much poorer place. More than 1,300 species of bats around the world are playing ecological roles that are vital to the health of natural ecosystems and human economies.
Many of the more than 1,300 bat species consume vast amounts of insects, including some of the most damaging agricultural pests. Others pollinate many valuable plants, ensuring the production of fruits that support local economies, as well as diverse animal populations. Fruit-eating bats in the tropics disperse seeds that are critical to restoring cleared or damaged rainforests. Even bat droppings (called guano) are valuable as a rich natural fertilizer.
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||Oct. 3, 2015, 2:27 p.m.
||Canon EOS-1D X