Jenny Fiddlesticks is Berlin-based tattoo artist and biologist who is passionate about science, art, and bats. BCI sat down with Fiddlesticks to discuss how she hopes her work can inspire young audiences to learn about the natural world.

Greater sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata)
Courtesy of Jenny Fiddlesticks

BCI: Why did you decide to write a childrens book for your research?

Fiddlesticks: I knew that Dr. Mirjam Knrnschild led a group who are investigating bats at Freie Universitt Berlin (FU). I had done projects in her group before, so she knew I enjoyed drawing very much. We considered the options for my thesis and decided to do something completely different than the usual laboratory work. So, she suggested that I could write an educational children’s book about the species she mainly deals with, Saccopteryx bilineata (greater sac-winged bat), and create my own illustrations for it. With this project, I’m able to really sink into a subject and also get into environmental work at the same time. We figured that environmental education should start as early as possible in one’s life.

Fiddlesticks plans to include other species, like this fringe-lipped bat (Trachops cirrhosus)
Courtesy of Jenny Fiddlesticks

BCI: Why did you choose the greater sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata) as the first species to highlight?

Fiddlesticks: We chose Saccopteryx as an investigation and model organism because they are one of the best-known bat species in the world regarding their ecology and social behavior. They live in South America with many other bat species, who are also extremely vital to the ecosystem and I will also include those other species in my book. I want to stress their crucial role for the environment and the earth and thus, us humans.

Courtesy of Jenny Fiddlesticks

BCI: How has your career as a tattoo artist influenced your research?

Fiddlesticks: Before I started at FU, I began tattooing in Berlin. It has influenced my scientific career in a way that I would like to connect the two whenever possible. I also devoted myself to pedagogy in school, so I feel it is important to connect the visual aspects of drawings to important educational prospects. With my book, I will also hand out background information for teachers or lecturers or whoever is interested in knowing more about bats. I am also thinking about creating a learning unit, involving interactive media, to support children in their learning even more.