Bats Pollinate Things, or You Can’t Echolocate With Your Head Stuffed Up A Flower
So, bat pollination: totally a thing. Bats are actually terrifically important pollinators in desert and tropical environments, for, uh, roughly the same reason.
See, the thing about tropical environments is that you look at them, as a human being, and you go “Aw, wow, look at all that biodiversity, it’s just like everything’s fucking alive man oh wow this is awesome there are five billion species per square inch!” But if you look at it from the individual five billion species per square inch’s point of view, or at least the ones that are plants, what it quite frequently means is that they’ve got a fucking long-ass way to go before they can find something to fertilize/be fertilized by. A lot of those species are existing in very small niches, or at the outer edge of the ranges. See also, plants in the desert.
Now, this means that you can’t just organize a jizz-based swap-meet like wind-pollinated plants or even bee-pollinated plants. It’s just too much of a crap-shoot that your pollen will get where it needs to go. And when you’ve got a million fucking miles to go before you can find a suitable genetic bro, you need something that flies a little bit farther and a little bit faster than just like, a butterfly or something. So you need, say, a bird or a bat.
Enter, well, bats. (Birds pollinate stuff, too, but they usually don’t look so ridiculous doing it, so we’re slightly less concerned with them right now.) Many bats, especially the bigger ones, are really just incredibly strong flyers, given their still quite-small size and weight. Bat flowers typically open at night, have a strong scent, and are conspicuous both visually and by echolocation.
The bat gets nectar out of it, and the plant gets pollinated. Since bats tend to have very good navigational memories, a plant that manages to attract a bat’s attention once or twice can put out blossoms over a long period of time and expect frequent return trips on the bat’s part, increasing the likelihood that at least some of its pollen is getting where it needs to go and that at least some of the bat’s trips will bring other plants’ pollen to it.