Coming Spring 2011

A Battery of Bat

Thomas H. Kunz

“Spawn of the Devil”

They are blood-sucking spawn of the Devil. They are sightless creatures, entangling themselves in people’s hair, or swooping through the night sky using supernatural powers. They are flying rats carrying insidious diseases. Such myths and folktales about bats have been the cornerstone of occult beliefs and the basis for much misunderstanding even among the scientifically informed.

Fringed Myotis (Myotis thysanodes) in flight.

Research by the author, Thomas H. Kunz, paints a very different portrait of this shy and evolutionary unique group of mammals. Rather than malevolent vermin, bats actually play key roles in activities essential to human well-being. Some bats feed on nectar and thus pollinate flowering plants, including crops essential for large scale human survival; others feed on fruit, dispersing seeds that promote the diversity of forests; while others help reduce the numbers of agricultural pests. Some bats often consume their body weight in cotton boll moths and corn earworms each night.

Given there are over 1100 species of bats currently recognized, comprising approximately twenty-two percent of all living mammals; given estimates of their sheer numbers range in the billions; and given how the lives of humans and bats are intimately linked in crucial ecological arenas, it is a wonder that currently there is no comprehensive book on bats that both engages the professional and also speaks to the lay natural history enthusiast.

A Battery of Bats fills that void.

A Battery of Bats is being written for enlightened readers and inquisitive minds. Information presented in this book promises to inform and tantalize beginners and seasoned naturalists alike. In short, A Battery of Bats offers something for readers of all ages and all levels of expertise interested in exploring the fascinating lives of these winged creatures of the night sky.

A Battery of Bats will answer such questions about where bats live; what they eat; why some bats hibernate and others migrate; why some live alone and others form large roosting aggregations, sometimes numbering in the millions; whether bats have their evolutionary roots with primates or some other mammalian group; how flight has influenced bat mating behavior; how bats use different sensory systems, from olfaction to hearing, to detect and capture prey; how and when bats reproduce and care for their young; what diseases they carry; why bats get bad press; and what we can do to protect and preserve these amazing mammals for future generations to benefit from and enjoy?

Rights available: World except English language

Night vision binoculars.


256 pages
125 color photographs
10 black and white illustrations
2 appendices
Dimensions: 11 x 8 x .75 inches

Thomas Kunz has conducted research on bats for over forty years, from the red hills of southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma to the rainforest jungles of Ecuador and Malaysia. He is Director of the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology at Boston University, which trains students and promotes research in tropical ecology; the author or co-author of over 200 journal publications; and the editor or co-editor of five books on bats. With this experience he brings a unique personal and profession perspective that will enrich and enliven this comprehensive journey into the lives of bats. A Battery of Bats will be generously illustrated with over 125 photographs taken by the author and by some of the world’s foremost photographers of these elusive creatures, plus photographs of specimens from the anthropological and zoological collections at the American Museum of Natural History.

Infrared image.


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