White-collared fruit bat (Megaerops wetmorei)

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White-collared fruit bat fact file

White-collared fruit bat description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderChiroptera
FamilyPteropodidae
GenusMegaerops (1)

Named for the fluffy white tufts of fur on the sides of the adult male’s neck, the white-collared fruit bat (Megaerops wetmorei) is a small bat, with dark rims to its ears, a broad snout and a short tail (2) (3). The white-collared fruit bat has a silver-grey head and slightly lighter grey upper body with pale brown tips to the hairs and the under parts are slightly lighter than the back (4). Like all fruit bats, the white-collared fruit bat has a dog-like head and large eyes compared to the size of its body. Its well-developed eyes are associated with its dependence on vision, rather than echolocation, to find its way around.

Male and female fruit bats generally differ in size, with males often being larger and having more heavily muscled heads than the females (5). The tufts of fur present in male white-collared fruit bats are missing from all specimens found on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines, but further geographic variations in this species have not yet been researched (2).

Also known as
Mindanao Fruit Bat.
Size
Total length: 7.4 - 8.1 cm (2)
Tail length:  0.3 - 0.5 cm (2)
Weight
16 - 21 g (2)
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White-collared fruit bat biology

There is little specific information available on the biology of the white-collared fruit bat. However like other fruit bats from the family Pteropodidae, it is likely to mainly feed on fruit and nectar. Fruit bats are nocturnal, so emerge from their roost in the evening and are active at night. Unlike most other species of bats, fruit bats have limited use of echolocation, and rely on sight and smell to find food (3) (5) and (6).

Fruit bats have strong jaws which are used to tear through the tough skins of fruit while hovering beside them. Food may also be carried to a branch where the bat will hang upside-down by one foot, using the other to hold the fruit while it eats. Fruit bats do not ingest food whole, but instead chew it to a pulp, squeezing the juice out with a ridged palate in the mouth. The remaining pellet of dry matter is discarded (6).

A female fruit bat will only give birth once a year and the young take up to two years to reach sexual maturity, resulting in a low reproductive rate compared to other mammals of a similar size (6).

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White-collared fruit bat range

The white-collared fruit bat ranges from Borneo to southwest Peninsular Malaysia (1). In the Philippines, it has been recorded only on Mindanao Island, which accounts for its alternative name, the Mindanao fruit bat (2).

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White-collared fruit bat habitat

The white-collared fruit bat is found in lowland and upper lowland areas of primary forest from elevations of 800 to 1,200 metres (1).

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White-collared fruit bat status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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White-collared fruit bat threats

Habitat loss is the biggest threat to the white-collared fruit bat. Southeast Asia has the highest relative deforestation rates of any tropical region and this is expected to lead to the extinction of many bat species (7). Agricultural expansion, plantations, logging and fire are all causing the removal and disruption of the already small areas of lowland forest that the white-collared fruit bat inhabits (1).

Many Southeast Asian bats are also hunted for food and traditional medicine (7).

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White-collared fruit bat conservation

The white-collared fruit bat is present in Bukit Tigahpuluh National Park in Sumatra, as well as in other protected areas in its range (1).

Due to financial, logistical and historical reasons, research into bat species and conservation has been very limited in the areas that the white-collared fruit bat inhabits. The Southeast Asian Bat Conservation Research Unit (SEABCRU) was set up in 2007 to try and change this. SEABCRU is a partnership between researchers and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), raising awareness and funding to allow academic research into bats to take place (7).

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Find out more

Find out more about the white-collared fruit bat:

 Find out more about bat conservation:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Echolocation
Detecting objects by reflected sound. Used by bats and odontocete cetaceans (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) for orientation and to detect and locate prey.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. The Field Museum of Natural History: Synopsis of Philippine Mammals - Megaerops wetmorei (November, 2011)
    http://archive.fieldmuseum.org/philippine_mammals/species/SP_134.asp
  3. Francis, C.M. (2008) A Field Guide to the Mammals of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers, London.
  4. Nowat, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. Volume I. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
  5. Ingle, N.R. and Heaney, L.R. (1992) A key to the bats of the Philippine islands. Fieldiana: Zoology. New Series, 69: 1-44
  6. Lube Bat Conservancy (November, 2011)
    http://www.batconservancy.org/
  7. Kingston, T. (2010) Research priorities for bat conservation in South-East Asia: A consensus approach. Biodiversity and Conservation, 19(2):471-484.
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Image credit

Profile of white-collared fruit bat  
Profile of white-collared fruit bat

© Jayson C. Ibanez

Jayson C. Ibanez
Research and Conservation Department
Philippine Eagle Foundation and Philippine Eagle Center
Malagos, Baguio District,
Davao City 8000
Philippines
falcon2car@yahoo.com
http://www.philippineeagle.org/

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