Temporal variation in the relative abundance of fruit bats (Megachiroptera

Pteropodidae) in relation to the availability of food in a lowland malaysian rain forest

Robert Hodgkison, Sharon T. Balding, Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad, Thomas H. Kunz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aims of this study were to investigate the diet and relative abundance of fruit bats in a lowland Malaysian rain forest and to test the hypothesis that the local assemblage structure of fruit bats varies significantly over time in relation to the availability of food. In total, 352 fruit bats of eight species were captured during 72,306 m2 mist-net hours of sampling between February 1996 and September 1999. Three species of fruit bats (Balionycteris maculata, Chironax melanocephalus, and Cynopterus brachyotis) that fed on a wide range of "steady state" and "big bang" food resources were captured continuously throughout the study period, with no significant variation in capture rates over time. In contrast, five species that fed exclusively or almost exclusively on "big bang" food resources were sampled intermittently, with significant temporal variation in the capture rates of two species (Cynopterus horsfieldi and Megaerops ecaudatus). Significant variation in the capture rates of the remaining three species (Dycopterus spadiceus, Eonycteris spelaea, and Rousettus amplexicaudatus) could not be detected due to small sample sixes. Since ephemeral "big bang" food resources were only sporadically available within the study area and were associated with large canopy trees and strangler figs, these results suggest that food abundance, or the availability of specific food items, may be important factors limiting local fruit bat species diversity in old-growth Paleotropical rain forest. Thus, only three fruit bat species were locally resident within the forest throughout the study period. Therefore, further studies on the ranging behavior and habitat requirements of Malaysian fruit bats are required to assess the adequacy of existing reserves and protected areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-533
Number of pages12
JournalBiotropica
Volume36
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

Fingerprint

Pteropodidae
bat
food availability
rain forests
Chiroptera
temporal variation
relative abundance
lowlands
fruit
fruits
food
Cynopterus
resource
Rousettus
old-growth forests
figs
rain forest
limiting factor
protected area
species diversity

Keywords

  • Chiroptera
  • Dipterocarp forest
  • Foraging ecology
  • Migration
  • Nomadism
  • Phenology
  • Pteropodidae
  • Refuging
  • Southeast Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Temporal variation in the relative abundance of fruit bats (Megachiroptera : Pteropodidae) in relation to the availability of food in a lowland malaysian rain forest. / Hodgkison, Robert; Balding, Sharon T.; Mukhtar Ahmad, Zubaid Akbar; Kunz, Thomas H.

In: Biotropica, Vol. 36, No. 4, 12.2004, p. 522-533.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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