A lesser long
-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae) arrives for dinner at the brightly colored fruit of a cardon cactus, the result of an earlier successful visit to the cactus flower. In the Sonoran Desert of northwestern Mexico, the cardon cactus provides nutritious meals for these endangered bats from the time the cactus blooms in spring through the time when fruits ripen in the heat of summer. In return, the bats provide a valuable service, pollinating the cactus' flowers, which enables them to reproduce, and then dispersing the seeds of the fruits so new plants can grow.
--Photo by Merlin D. Tuttle