The Reading Room has gone batty!
For those of you able to stop by the Library Reading Room, there is a newly installed exhibit featuring BATS!
Nearly 20% of all mammals are bats. There are roughly 1,240 bat species worldwide. The order Chiroptera (from the Greek, meaning “hand-wing”) is broken into two subclasses. The megachiroptera are large, primarily fruit-eating bats that rely on sight and smell to locate their food. The microchiroptera feed on insects, which they locate via echolocation.
I saw this image on the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr stream . It is from Buffon's Natural history, containing a theory of the earth, a general history of man, of the brute creation, and of vegetables, minerals, &c. &c. From the French, with notes by the translator. London:1797-1807. And honestly, at first I thought they were some weird sheep, or blocky, ungulate-sized mice. What else for a scientific illustrator to do, but create an improved image?
The three bats presented in the Buffon image done here in pastel, from top to bottom:
Greater Bulldog bat, Nolctilio nigrita
Ternat or Greater Yellow House bat, Pteropus vulgaris
Senegal bat, Vespertilio nigrita
The bat exhibit will be on display in the Library Reading Room through the end of 2013.