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Bat Patrol

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Winged Prey

Winged Prey
Photograph by Jay Dickman

Shadows of corn earworm moths—among free–tailed bats’ favorite foods—and of a moth trap play over the face of Texas A&M University–Kingsville student Caleb Troxclair, who was hired to trap moths for study by U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher John Westbrook. Westbrook and a colleague, biologist Gary McCracken of the University of Tennessee, have studied how bats feed on insect pests, especially corn earworm moths, one of the most destructive insects to agriculture in the United States. Using Doppler weather radar on the ground, radiomicrophones attached to kites, and instruments they carried aloft in a hot–air balloon, the researchers discovered that the bats were feeding on these moths at least 4,000 feet up—on their way up to more than twice that height.

Camera: Nikon F100
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia
Lens: Nikon 80-200mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/5.6
Weather Conditions: A warm Texas morning
Time of Day: Just after sunrise
Lighting Techniques: Available light

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