Black-capped Fruit Bat (Chironax melanocephalus)



Head and body length about65-70 mm. No external tail is present. Forearm 40-50mm. Weight 12 to 17 grams. The head is black. The back is grey brown to reddish brown. The undersides are pale buff. No spots on the wings.


 Usually found at elevations above  600 metres, with groups of between 2 and 8 individuals being found during the day resting on the underside of tree ferns several metres from the ground. Seven specimens of C. melanocephalus were collected from the lowland forest at Kubah and Lambir, and beach forest at Samunsam, Sarawak, Borneo. The specimen that was mist-netted in Kubah National Park on 12 July 1995 was a first record for Sarawak (Abdullah et al. 1997). According to Payne et al. (1985) the distribution of C. melanocephalus in Borneo is only known from Sepilok in Sabah and Temburong in Brunei. The range includes Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi (Payne et al. 1985).

Biology and Ecology

The habitat where it was caught was lowland mixed dipterocarp forest. Two specimens were caught in the under story of primary dipterocarp forest in Kubah National Park; one form the under story of mixed beach forest habitat in Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary; and four from the canopy (between 15 to 30 m) of the primary dipterocarp forest in Lambir Hill National Park. These sites are new distributional records for C. melanocephalus in Sarawak and have extended the range of the species to the western part of Borneo. The bat normally roosts in small groups in tree ferns and in shallow caves (Payne et al. 1985).

All C. melanocephalus caught were adults, three males and four females. Two were in non-reproductive condition and others were in various reproductive stages. A female (MTA96041) caught on 21 May 1996 from Kubah was pregnant. In November 1996, two females caught in Lambir Hills National Park were in post-lactating condition, suggesting recent detachment or loss of juveniles. A male caught at the same site was observed to have enlarged testes. Medway (1978) recorded pregnant females in February and April in the upland area of Cameron highlands in Peninsular Malaysia. It occurs in lowland, hill and montane forest. The Sabah specimen was taken in the under story of dipterocarp forest. It has been found roosting in small groups in tree ferns and in a shallow cave (Payne et al. 1985). It is probably not dependent on water. They have been seen feeding on wild Fig (Ficus)
Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

 Habitat loss is a threat for this species, it is usually not found in disturbed forest. Deforestation is occurring throughout its range for logging, agriculture and plantations, and as a result of fires.

 Conservation Actions:

The species occurs in protected areas.