Pteropus giganteus (Brunnich, 1782), Bengal, India.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Giant Indian fruit bat.
Head and body length 8-12 in (20-30 cm), forearm 6-7 in (15-18 cm), wingspan 4 ft (1.2 m), weight 3.3 lb (1.5 kg).
Pakistan, Nepal, India, and the Maldives through to Myanmar. A single specimen was recorded in Tsinghai, China.
The preferred habitat is well established trees and swamp areas near large bodies of water. Some of the tree species favored for roosting sites are semal (Bombax malabaricus), peepal (Ficus ben-galensis), and mango.
A colonial species that lives in large diurnal roosts. These bats form a hierarchy within the male population, defined by strength and size. Within the hierarchy, each male has a rank and his own roosting spot. Roosting takes place out in open. Colony size varies seasonally, shrinking in number during the summer and increasing during the rainy season. Colonies of these species tend to favor roosting areas near towns or villages.
These bats will leave the roosting site soon after sunset and return about 45 minutes after sunrise. They may break into small feeding groups after leaving and when entering a feeding area. Before feeding they will visit a lake or river to drink and they skim it while they are flying.
Diet includes fruits, flowers, and leaves during the non-fruiting season. Examples are flower buds from the silk cotton tree (Gossampinus malabarocus), tulip tree (Spathodea campunulata), guava, and the soft leaves and twigs of the tamarind trees.
Polygynous. Mating takes place from July to October. Within that span, copulation will take place three times. Gestation is 140-150 days. When they are ready to give birth, females will congregate in the upper branches of the roosts. The pup is able to fly by the eleventh week and is weaned within two to six months.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Hunted for food. Performs valuable pollination and seed dispersal of plants. ♦
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