The scientific world is electrified today by one of the most significant discoveries of our times: the great majority of female short-nosed fruit bats love to give head. Possibly even more significantly, the nimble lust-crazed chiropterines are able to perform fellatio on a male bat who is taking them from behind at the time.
The revelations were reported breathlessly in Science magazine at the weekend. It appears that until now, the only species known to indulge in oral sex were bonobo monkeys and some humans: but this picture has been turned on its head by boffins in China. These scientists had set up pairs of Cynopterus sphinx shortnosed fruitbats in romanta-love-tryst situations and then positioned infrared cameras to record the saucy antics which ensued. As you do.
According to Science:
Then came the shocker: After the male mounted the female from behind, she bent over and began licking his penis... The males never withdrew while being licked, and the authors found that the longer a female licked, the longer copulation lasted (for each second of licking, the female bats gained 6 seconds of copulation)... In all, fellating females mated for an average of 4 minutes, twice as long as the other females.
Pausing briefly no doubt to wipe the steam from their spectacles, the boffins noted that this was no isolated act by an unusually frisky lady fruitbat. It seems that down among the southeast Asia's nocturnal air-scrumping community, it's routine to add a bit of value to one's night-life experience in this fashion. Fully 70 per cent of the lady bats in the study did so.
"The finding of fellatio in bats is exciting news," primatologist Frans de Waal - an expert on oral sex in bonobo monkeys - told Science.
The scientists aren't sure why the lady bats are so keen on giving head. They do note in their paper:
The C. sphinx females are not passive during copulation but rather communicate with the male, in this case by licking his penis... It is conceivable that the female manipulates the male by increasing sexual stimulation, so that she ultimately benefits.
Male C. Sphinx bats apparently don't reciprocate the favours offered so lavishly by the females. But they do, apparently, give themselves a little extra oral treat after finishing with a lady.