Egyptian rousette

Rousettus aegyptiacus

SUBFAMILY

Pteropodinae

TAXONOMY

Pteropus aegyptiacus (Geoffroy, 1810), Giza, Egypt. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Egyptian fruit bat, Arabian rousette, Cape rousette, West African rousette; German: Ägyptischer Flughund.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length, 4.5-5 in (11.4-12.7 cm); forearm length 3.3-3.5 in (8.4-8.9 cm); wingspan, 23.6 in (60 cm); tail length, 0.4-0.9 in (1-2.2 cm); weight, 2.8-6 oz (80-170 g). Pelage is brownish gray. Ventrum is a lighter gray.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern, western, and eastern Africa, Egypt to Turkey, Cyprus, Arabian peninsula east to Pakistan.

HABITAT

Egyptian rousettes prefer slightly humid dark roosts. Most are found in caves, where they occupy the walls and ceilings close to the opening. Other roosting places are trees, rock crevices, human-built structures, including ancient ruins (the type speci

men was collected from the Great Pyramid), wells, and underground irrigation tunnels. They also have been observed in sa-

BEHAVIOR

Gregarious, size of camp varies. In Pakistan roosting colonies may be small, approximately 20-40 individuals. In South Africa large camps were observed having from 7,000 to 9,000 bats. Unlike the other megachiropterans, this fruit bat employs echolocation. Unlike microchiropterans, which echolocate by ultrasonic signals produced in the larynx and emitted through nostrils or the mouth, rousettes make an audible clicking sound with their tongues.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Food preference is very ripe fruit. Farmers often blame these bats for destruction of their crops, but they will not consume green fruit growing on a farm.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Varies depending on environment. Most populations appear to have two breeding seasons. Gestation is about six months and one pup a year the norm. In some locations breeding seasons appear to correspond to the end of a rainy season. Thought to be polygamous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Regarded as a pest over much of its range. In particular it is falsely perceived as a major threat to crops. Egyptian rousettes serve as pollinators. ♦

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