Many species of animals feed the cubs in unusual ways, and bats are among them. Scientists during observations of several species found that they feed the cubs not only milk, but also nectar.
In addition to traditional milk feeding, some species of mammals feed cubs, so to speak, from their own plate. These include the long-tongued leaf-bearing beetle (Glossophaga soricina) and the South American bat.
These species, like hummingbirds, feed on flower nectar. As studies recently found out, they, in addition to lactation, feed the cubs with regurgitated nectar. This is the first recorded evidence of this type of nutrition in bats.
Study co-author Andreas Rose, an ecologist at Ulm University, says the discovery raises some intriguing questions. Among them - whether this type of feeding offspring is justified. “Does mother really need less energy in this case than with milk?” - wonders Andreas.
Scientists suggest that such behavior brings cubs benefits that are not related to nutrition: for example, this is how the mother transfers the necessary intestinal bacteria to the cubs or teaches them social processes related to nutrition.
In addition to bats, other animals - fish, reptiles and invertebrates - use such unusual methods of feeding offspring that mammalian lactation begins to seem outdated in terms of convenience and evolution. For example, some species from the family of true worms grow a layer of oily skin before giving birth to offspring and feed them to the cubs. And the fish blue discus secrete the whole surface of the skin nourishing mucus, which feeds the fry.
Evolution has given us amazing animals, inventing more and more new ways of survival. And which way, in your opinion, is the most thoughtful and effective?