Greater Short-nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopterus sphinx)

 

Description

These bats have a relatively long snout. Their upper parts are brown to grey-brown with paler under parts. The fur is very fine and silky. The ears and wing bones of C. sphinx are edged in white. Lower cheek teeth rounded without accessory cusps. The wing span of the adult is about 48 cm. Juveniles are lighter than adults. Average forearm length 70.2mm (64-79mm).This species is found in a wide variety of habitats from rural areas, primary and secondary forested habitats to urban landscapes. It is found as small colonies consisting of 3-7 individuals, sometimes more; it roosts underside leaves, in flower and fruit clusters of Kitul Palm, on Saraka asoka trees and is known to build tents in the roosting trees. It feeds on a variety of fruits both wild and cultivated. It has a low but fast flight. It breeds twice a year, and in some areas is known to breed throughout the year and bears a single young (Bates and Harrison 1997).
Systems: Terrestrial


Habitat

It is found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. C. sphinx is common in tropical forests and areas where fruit crops are cultivated. They can also be found in grassland and mangrove forests. They typically nest high in palm trees. The bats chew the fronds of the palms to construct fairly simple tents. These bats are also known to construct tents by closely interweaving the leaves and twigs of creeping vines which cover buildings, but such nests are constructed only when palms are not available. They are common in tropical forests, where fruit crop acreage. They can also be found in the grass and mangroves. They usually nest in the height of palm tree. Bat bite the hand of the leaf structure is very simple tent. These bats are also known as the structure closely intertwined with branches, leaves and vines climbing tents, covers the construction, but construction of the nest only palm is not available. Generally, they are found at lower altitudes. The habitats are including agricultural areas, forested regions and parks in cities. They can also be found from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka to southern China, Malaysia, Java, Lesser Sunda Island, Borneo and Sulawesi which is ranging wide.

Native:
Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Vietnam

Behaviour and breeding

The species is gregarious, and typically roosts in same sex groups of 8-9 individuals. The sexes remain separate until the mating season, when group size increases. They are polygynous and it is usual for 6-10 males and 10-15 females to share palm frond tents during the breeding season. C. sphinx is the only non-primate species to show fellatio, which enhances copulation time in the species. Copulation by males is dorsoventral and the females lick the shaft or the base of the male's penis, but not the gland which has already penetrated the vagina. While the females do this, the penis is not withdrawn and research has shown a positive relationship between length of the time that the penis is licked and the duration of copulation. Post copulation genital grooming has also been observed. Males stay with females for some time after mating, but later return to same sex groups. Female bats perform fellatio to increase copulation time. This species is the only non-primate to exhibit this behaviour The adult sex ratio is very female biased. Researchers attribute this to the relatively rapid maturation of females compared to males. In Central India, C. sphinx breeds twice per year. Females produce a single young at a time. Each half of the bicornate uterus functions during alternate breeding cycles. The first pregnancy cycle occurs from October through February/March. Mating occurs immediately postpartum, and a second offspring is born in July. Gestation period is about 35 months. In 72% of bats, the first pregnancy occurs in the right horn of the uterus. The corpus luteum in the right ovary persists for some time after the pregnancy and prevents ovulation from occurring in the right ovary during the second breeding cycle. This creates the pattern of alternate functioning of the two horns of the uterus. However, the corpus luteum in the left ovary does not persist until the beginning of the next breeding cycle. As yet, no reason has been found for the dominance of the right horn during the first breeding cycle. Newborn bats weigh about 13.5 g and have a wingspan of 24 cm. By the time of weaning at 4 weeks of age, young bats weigh 25 g and have wings spanning 36 cm. Female short-nosed fruit bats reach sexual maturity at 56 months of age, but males are not capable of breeding until they are a year old.

These bats are frugivorous, locate their preferred food items by scent. They have been described as voracious feeders, eating more than their body weight in food in one sitting. Some preferred fruits include ripe guava, banana, chikoo, dates and lychees.

Short-nosed fruit bats inflict serious damage on many fruit crops, and are considered pests. In addition, these bats are possible vectors for Japanese encephalitis, which is serious disease in humans.[8] These bats are important dispersers of date palm seeds, and pollinate many night blooming flowers.

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