Blanford's Fruit Bat (Sphaerias blanfordi)

Description

FA = 52.14, TL = none, EL = 18.58, HD = 27.56, TB = 20.25, WT = 31.00, HB = 78.63, HF = 11.23, D5 = 69.36; 1 sample. An immature (B0777) had a forearm length exceeding the range recorded by Lekagul and McNeely (1977). All other adult, sub adult and immature were within range of external measurements given by Lekagul and McNeely (1977).

The basic colour is dull, greyish brown above and light paler, underneath. The inter femoral  membrane is the least developed amongst cynopterine fruit bats, extending along the femur and upper parts of the tibia, with no calcar; the membrane is covered with soft, fine, dense hair. The ears  are dark and hairless, with the anterior margin edged in white, as in Cynopterus The nostrils are situated well back from the mouth, with the lower jaw slightly underslung.The skull is less heavily built than in Cynopterus, with very slight post orbital processes and a weak zygomatic arch; there is no postorbital foramina. The incisors are close together, robust, and have triangular pointed crowns; the incisors tooth rows are slightly curved, with both upper and lower incisors situated entirely in front of a line connecting the canines. The canines have no secondary cusps and are slanted outwards. Anderson (19120 suggests that because of the unique shape and position of the incisors. these teeth must be used differently than in other  Cynopterus forms.

Range Description:

This species ranges from northern South Asia, into southern China and Northern parts of Southeast Asia. In South Asia, this species is presently known from Bhutan (Ganghlakha), India (Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) and Nepal (Eastern Nepal) (Molur et al. 2002). In China it is present in southern Xixang and eastern Yunnan. In Southeast Asia, there are records from Myanmar, Northern Thailand and Vietnam. It has been recorded from 308 to 2,710 m asl.
Countries: Native:
Bhutan; China; India; Myanmar; Nepal; Thailand; Vietnam

Population:

In South Asia, although it is widespread, it is not a common species (Molur et al. 2002). In China, the species is little known, but is believed to be most common in lower montane forests. It is uncommonly encountered in Southeast Asia.
Population Trend: Unknown

Blanford's Fruit Bat (Sphaerias blanfordi) is a mountain species of megabat. The only recording of it was from the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park in Chiengmai, Thailand. According to Lekagul and McNeely (1977), the species is confined to the Thai-Burmese border, Uttar Pradesh in India and Eastern Nepal.

Biology and ecology

A male and three female S. blanfordi were netted in a secondary habitat at 1020 m elevation. In May 1997, an adult female was lactating, two immature female fledglings and a sub adult were observed at Doi Suthep. The bats were found in the nets the morning, presumably caught between the last net check at midnight and dawn. All S. blanfordi were caught approximately 0.8 m to 1.5 m above the ground. One site had about 50% canopy cover, relatively dense undergrowth with saplings and the net was set across a fire break on a slope. The other catching site had about 90% canopy cover, relatively sparse undergrowth with some seedlings, ginger and Pandanus plants. The net was set between two clumps of banana plants on a slope. During the survey, the night temperature was cool (approximately 20oC) and misty around daybreak. There is little ecological information recorded for this species (Lekagul and McNeely 1977).Little has been recorded about the habitat or ecology of this species other that it is known to inhabit bamboo forests (Molur et al. 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

In South Asia, this species is threatened by habitat loss largely through commercial harvest of bamboo (Molur et al. 2002). There appear to be no major threats to the species in Southeast Asia. In China, the threats to this species are unclear although it may be threatened by ongoing habitat degradation.

Conservation Actions:

 In South Asia, it is considered to be vermin under Schedule V of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. It has been recorded from protected areas in India like Namdapha National Park in Assam, Phambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim. In Southeast Asia it has been recorded from a number of protected areas. In South Asia, field surveys, population monitoring, habitat management and public awareness initiatives are immediate recommendations (Molur et al. 2002).]

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