Vampire bats might avoid bitter substances to dodge indigestion

Vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) can detect some bitter substances

Michael & Patricia Fogden/Minden

Vampire bats can’t taste sweet foods, but they can taste some bitter substances – and doing so may even be beneficial.

During their evolution, vampire bats lost their receptors for detecting sweet tastes. That is probably because they didn’t need them, says Maik Behrens at the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Unlike fruit bats, for example, they don’t eat sweet-tasting foods.

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