Bat With Insanely Long Tongue Found in Bolivia

Shaunacy Ferro
Mileniusz Spanowicz/WCS
Mileniusz Spanowicz/WCS / Mileniusz Spanowicz/WCS

The tube-lipped nectar bat has a tongue that’s longer than its entire body. Anoura fistulata, first discovered in Ecuador in 2005 [PDF], has only been observed in rare instances, but has just been found in a new place: Bolivia. 

Designed to reach deep into flowers to suck out nectar, the bat’s tongue, at 8.5 centimeters (3.3 inches), is 150 percent the size of its body. The root of the tongue, which is up to twice the length of its other Anoura brethren, begins all the way down in the bat’s rib cage. It's the longest tongue (relative to its body) of any mammal. 

The bat was found as part of an 18-month-long expedition in Madidi National Park in Bolivia. Since June, scientists have been combing the 7,300 square-mile park for new species. They’ve cataloged 500 species of vertebrates, uncovering 60 animals they didn’t know lived in the park, including what they think is an entirely new species of frog. 

[h/t: Washington Post]