Damien1972 writes: Nectar-feeding bats shift the shape of their tongue to slurp up sugar from flowers upon which they feed, finds a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using histological techniques, high-speed videography, and anatomical studies, biologist Cally Harper found that the bat Glossophaga soricina relies on hair-like structures known as papillae on its tongue to extract nectar from flowers. The structures, which become erect when muscle contraction fills them with blood, increase the surface area and width of its tongue tip to create a hydraulic process that causes nectar to flow along the tongue into the bat's mouth. The mechanism is "surprisingly clever" and could inspire medical device design, according to the researchers.
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