JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CBS St. Louis/AP) — Researchers have recently learned that certain fruit bats perform oral sex on one another – a behavior widely thought to be almost exclusively human in nature.
According to LiveScience, two studies conducted over the course of the past few years finds that both male and female bats engage in acts of cunnilingus and fellatio.
The behavior of female bats engaging in oral sex during copulation was observed, and the subsequent study on the matter formally published back in 2009. More recently, however, scientists in India observed reciprocal actions being performed by male bats with female partners.
“Apart from humans, bats also exhibit oral sex as a courtship behavior,” Ganapathy Marimuthu, a bat researcher at Madurai Kamaraj University, was quoted as saying.
Researchers involved in the study reportedly observed a colony of Indian flying foxes, also known as fruit bats, over the course of 13 months. The 420-strong colony resided in a fig tree near Nallachampatti. During this study, the bats were said to be seen engaging in the sex acts with one another.
Scientists believe that the purpose of the act is to promote sperm mobility and increase chances of impregnation by the bat performing the act, instead of another male in the colony.
“It is possible that prolonged copulation enables the mobility of sperm,” Marimuthu told LiveScience. “Such mobility of sperm increases the chances of conception.”
Scientists involved with the study additionally noted that other species of fruit bats may engage in similar acts for similar biological and evolutionary reasons.
The study was reportedly published in the journal PLOS ONE late last month.
Bats in the area are not faring as well as four more cases of deadly white-nose syndrome recently turned up in bats in eastern Missouri.
The state Conservation Department says the disease was recently confirmed in a tri-colored bat and a little brown bat found in a public cave in Washington County.
A little brown bat and a northern long-eared bat, found in two separate public caves in Franklin County, also had white-nose syndrome.
Signs of the disease or the fungus have now been confirmed in 19 bats, all in eastern Missouri, since 2010.
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