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From Xplor: July/August 2019

Batty for Bugs

Bats bag bugs after dark by “seeing” with sound.

When hunting, a bat lets loose nearly 4,500 high pitched squeaks each second. The squeaks hit nearby objects and bounce back to the bat’s ears. This paints a picture in the bat’s brain of its surroundings.

If an insect flies within striking distance, the bat scoops it up with its wings or tail then passes the morsel to its furry face for an in-flight snack. In an hour of hunting, a single bat can stuff its belly with 1,000 bugs!

Critter Corner | Niangua Darter

This little member of the perch family is only 3 to 4 inches long, but it’s big on color and style. Breeding males have orange-red bellies and shiny blue-green bars along their sides. These darters are state-endangered, found only in a few tributaries of the Osage River in west-central Missouri. If you float the Niangua River this summer, you may be lucky enough to spot its namesake fish swimming beneath your canoe. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/field-guide.

Also In This Issue

Raccoon In a Trash Can
Xplor’s fearless reporter braves the forest after dark to chat with Missouri’s most mysterious masked mammal.
Lichen On The Rocks
It takes special superpowers to survive on Missouri’s mini deserts.

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White