This Week In History: Amazing photos of the bats that call B.C. home

WatchThe Royal BC Museum is publishing a new book on bats, called 'Bats of British Columbia'. Find out how they got the perfect pictures of the mysterious mammals.

The Royal BC Museum is publishing a new book on bats, called Bats of British Columbia.

It updates a handbook first published in 1993.

In 3o years, a lot has been learned about the mysterious mammals.

The biggest upgrade to the second edition, colour photos, compared to black and white drawings in the first edition.

“So I hope people appreciate the images in the book because they take so much work”, says photographer Jared Hobbs.  “I started in 2010, it’s taken me 10 years to get all of the photographs of the book. You’ve only got a few seconds at best to get their shot.” Hobbs says the photoshoots were challenging because most happened in the middle of the night.

COURTESY: Jared Hobbs

The cover of the book is a Pallid Bat drinking water, something bats can do while flying. Hobbs says, “to capture that I used four laser beam set up a two, four, six, and eight inches over the water.  I pre-focused my camera at that snap point where the lasers would trip.  When they flew through and broke the laser beam, that would trip my flashes and I would get this amazing shot of a bat flying at you reflected in the water below.

The authors hope the second edition will help people understanding of the importance of bats. Hobbs says bats are key pollinators in our ecosystems, and that some fruit eating bats in the world are responsible for carrying and dispersing seeds and planting forests.  He goes on to say, “without bats you would feel an impact.You’d feel a change in levels of mosquitoes and sort of pests around your house.”

There are over a dozen bat species in BC.  Some of the ways they can be identified are by considering the ears and the nose.  Hobbs says, “The Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat’s Latin name is Corynorhinus, which means bump- nosed or lump- nosed.   When it echolocates, it uses those bumps to produce two different frequencies. We call it a split harmonic. So you might think it’s just got funny bumps on its nose, but that actually contributes a lot towards its success in that niche as a moth specialist.”

COURTESY: Jared Hobbs

While the book has four authors, including Cori L. Lausen, David W. Nagorsen, and R. Mark Brigham, hobbs says it was a community of bat biologists and naturalists and scientists that help produce this book. “People opened their homes to us. They contributed sightings. They contributed evidence and stories and science. So this is very much a book produced by B.C. for B.C.”

The book is expected to be published in March 2022.

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RELATED: Museum publishes a new mushroom guide for the popular pastime of foraging

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