Bats eating stink bugs

Common Slit-faced Bat (Nycteris thebaica) eating a green stink bug in flight

Thanks to help from a local macademia grower, Koos Steyn, here in South Africa, we finally got approximately 100 green stink bugs, the most costly pest of macademias, and were able to coax our common slit-faced bat (Nycteris thebaica) to carry a couple of them through  an infrared beam before eating them beyond recognition. In the process we used up nearly all our stink bugs, but on the last shot of the night, after hours of failed efforts, we got a nice photo.  Merlin still isn’t completely satisfied, so we’ll be trying for more.

His next goal is to photograph a Botswanan long-eared bat (Laephotis botswanae) plucking a stink bug off of a macademia branch. This is a real challenge, especially since we still haven’t even been able to catch one of these bats! The nights have been quite cold this whole trip, likely accounting for this failure. But we’ll try our luck again tonight in Koos’ orchard.