Myonycteris torquatalittle collared fruit bat

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Geographic Range

Little collared fruit bats (Myonycteris torquata) are native to the Ethiopian region; their range extends from west to central Africa. They are found natively along the equator in the following countries: Angola, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Bioko, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, northeastern Zaire and Zambia. (Leroy, et al., 2009; Mickleburgh, et al., 2012; Mickleburgh, et al., 1992; Nowak, 1994)

Habitat

Little collared fruit bats are mainly found in forests. They have been captured deep within the forest and in the forest's edge, many of these captures have occurred at the canopy level. They have also been found in wooded savannas; however, this may be largely due to wet season migrations. Little collared fruit bats have also been observed on farmlands and in gardens located near and within cities. They may be found at medium to low altitudes, but they are typically considered a lowland species. (Cosson, 1995; Fahr and Ebigbo, 2004; Fraser, et al., 2012; King and Dallimer, 2010; Mickleburgh, et al., 2012; Mickleburgh, et al., 1992; Nowak, 1994; Rodriguez, et al., 2006; Watts, 1970)

  • Range elevation
    762 to 800 m
    2500.00 to 2624.67 ft

Physical Description

Little collared fruit bats do not show any significant sexual size dimorphism, males tend to weigh 40 g and have a total body length of 112 mm, whereas females typically weigh 34 g and have a total body length of 102 to 105 mm. The differences observed in an individual's size and fur are associated with their age. These bats have unique hairs that resemble the texture of a pinecone. These hairs are thought to be involved with scent dispersal. In addition, these bats have a ring of course hairs around their neck, which extends onto their chest. Little collared fruit bats have variable coloration. Their upper body often ranges from light- to dark brown, but they may also be red- or yellow brown in some cases. Males have a collar of course hairs around their neck that ranges in color from olive to yellow. Little collared fruit bats resemble Angolan fruit bats, especially as juveniles or young adults; however, little collared fruit bats have a much shorter forearm and a hairless distal area on their tibia and webbed hind-foot toes. (Bergmans, 1980; Brian, et al., 1987; Hood, 2000; King and Dallimer, 2010; Lavrenchenko, et al., 2004; Norberg and Rayner, 1987; Nowak, 1994; Rodriguez, et al., 2006; Thorn and Peterhans, 2009; Watts, 1970)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    28 to 40 g
    0.99 to 1.41 oz
  • Range length
    102 to 112 mm
    4.02 to 4.41 in
  • Average wingspan
    0.292 m
    0.96 ft

Reproduction

Little collared fruit bats exhibit year long reproduction. Further research on their mating systems is needed, however, several of their close relatives are polygynous and some are polygynandrous (promiscuous). Their close relatives use vocal calling and wing flapping to attract mates. (Krutzsch, 1979; Nowak, 1999)

The breeding season of little collared fruit bats reportedly lasts from July until March. Breeding may last longer, but it is heavily dependent on the climatic conditions experienced during the dry season. Little collared fruit bats undergo two birthing periods, the first of which lasts from approximately August to September and the second lasts from approximately February to March. Males migrate into the savannas during the wet season while the females are pregnant. Females have been observed lactating from November to May. Further research is needed on their reproductive behavior; however, several of their close relatives become sexually mature at the age of two or earlier. In these closely related species, females generally give birth to a single pup and lactating females may feed their young for up to seven months. After weaning, the young may stay with their mothers for four additional months. (Mickleburgh, et al., 1992; Nowak, 1994; Nowak, 1999)

  • Breeding interval
    Little collared fruit bats may breed twice a year.
  • Breeding season
    Little collared fruit bats have a reported breeding season that lasts from July until at least March.
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Range gestation period
    4 to 6 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    2 years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    2 years

The only groups of little collared bats that have been reported roosting together are females with their offspring. Males migrate away and are not involved with their offspring. Further research is needed on their parental investment, however, in their close relatives; lactating females may feed their young for up to seven months. After weaning, the young may stay with their mothers for four additional months. (Mickleburgh, et al., 1992; Nowak, 1999; Radhakrishna, 2005)

Lifespan/Longevity

Further research is needed on the lifespan of little collared fruit bats; however, their close relatives have lived for nearly 30 years in the wild and in captivity. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: wild
    30 (high) years
  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    30 (high) years

Behavior

Little collared fruit bats are arboreal; they are also a nocturnal, non-hibernating species. These bats roost solitarily. Males migrate to the savannas during the wet season. Further research is needed on their behavior. (Cosson, 1995; Fraser, et al., 2012; Mickleburgh, et al., 1992; Nowak, 1994; Radhakrishna, 2005)

Home Range

There is currently little information available regarding the home range size of little collared fruit bats.

Communication and Perception

Little collared fruit bats have gland hairs that resemble pine-cones. These hairs are thought to be involved with scent dispersal. Further research is needed on their communication and perception; however, their close relatives are known to use visual, chemical, tactile and acoustic perception channels. (Brian, et al., 1987; Mickleburgh, et al., 1992)

Food Habits

Little collared fruit bats are primarily frugivorous. In some locations, they specialize on the fruits of genus Solanum. During the wet season, when little collared fruit bats migrate, they have been observed feeding on the fruits of shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa), which are at their peak fruiting at that time. These bats have also been observed eating bananas (Musa) and they have been captured near guava (Psidium guajava) and mango (Mangifera indica) trees. Additionally, they have been reported visiting the flowers of fountain trees (Spathodea campanulata), kapok trees (Ceiba pentandra) and tree beans (Parkia roxburghii). (Cosson, 1995; Djossa, et al., 2008; Mickleburgh, et al., 1992)

  • Plant Foods
  • fruit

Predation

Further research is needed on the predation of little collared fruit bats. Their close relatives may be preyed upon by birds, mammals, snakes and lizards. (Juste and Ibañez, 1994; Mickleburgh, et al., 1992)

Ecosystem Roles

Little collared fruit bats are used as a host by the mite species Binuncus myonycteris. Likewise, Hepatpcystis perronae is a parasite found in their hepatocytes (liver cells). (Landau, et al., 2012; Uchikawa, 1986)

Commensal/Parasitic Species
  • Binuncus myonycteris
  • Hepatpcystis perronae

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans hunt and consume little collared fruit bats, providing a source of food and income; however, these bats are a likely natural reservoir of the Ebola-virus. Further research and education about the bats and their migratory patterns is therefore important for human health. (Juste and Ibañez, 1994; Leroy, et al., 2009)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Little collared fruit bats are a likely natural reservoir of the Ebola-virus. (Leroy, et al., 2009)

Conservation Status

Little collared fruit bats are a species of least concern; nevertheless, they are affected by habitat destruction. (Mickleburgh, et al., 2012)

Contributors

Jordon Krall (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Christopher Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Leila Siciliano Martina (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.

Glossary

Ethiopian

living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

agricultural

living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

arboreal

Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

causes disease in humans

an animal which directly causes disease in humans. For example, diseases caused by infection of filarial nematodes (elephantiasis and river blindness).

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

food

A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

frugivore

an animal that mainly eats fruit

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

migratory

makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

polygynandrous

the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.

polygynous

having more than one female as a mate at one time

rainforest

rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

solitary

lives alone

suburban

living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

urban

living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year

References

Bergmans, W. 1980. A New Fruit Bat of the Genus Myonycteris matschie, 1889, from eastern Kenya and Tanzania (Mammalia, Megachiroptera). Zoologische Mededelingen, 55/14: 171-181.

Brian, M., C. Hickey, M. Fenton. 1987. Scent-dispersing Hairs (Osmetrichia) in some Pteropodidae and Molossidae (Chiroptera). Journal of Mammalogy, 68/2: 381-384.

Cosson, J. 1995. Captures of Myonycteris torquata (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in Forest Canopy in South Cameroon. Biotropica, 27/3: 395-396.

Djossa, B., J. Fahr, E. Kalko, B. Sinsin. 2008. Fruit Selection and Effects of Seed Handling by Flying Foxes on Germination Rates of the Shea Trees, A Key Resource in Northern Benin, West Africa. Ecotropica, 14: 37-48.

Fahr, J., N. Ebigbo. 2004. Rapid survey of bats (Chiroptera) in the Forêt Classée du Pic de Fon, Guinea. Pp. 69-77 in J McCullough, ed. A Rapid Biological Assessment of the Forêt Classée du Pic de Fon, Simandou Range, South-eastern Republic of Guinea. Washington, DC: Conservation International.

Fraser, E., L. McGuire, J. Eger, F. Longstaffe, M. Fenton. 2012. Evidence of Latitudinal Migration in Tri-colored Bats, Perimyotis subflavus. PloS one, 7/2: e31419.

Hood, C. 2000. Geometric Morphometric approches to the Study of Sexual Dimorphism in Mammals. Hystrix, 11/1: 77-90.

Juste, J., C. Ibañez. 1994. Bats of the Gulf of Guinea islands: faunal composition and origins. Biodiversity & Conservation, 3/9: 837-850.

King, T., M. Dallimer. 2010. The fruit bats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) of the Lesio-Louna Reserve, Bateke Plateau, Republic of Congo. Mammalia, 74/1: 63-69.

Krutzsch, P. 1979. Male reproductive patterns of non-reproductive bats. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 56/1: 333-344.

Landau, I., J. Chavatte, G. Karadjian, D. Chabaud, I. Beveridge. 2012. The Haemosporidian Parasite of Bats with Description of Sprattiella alectogen. nov., sp. nov.. Parasite, 19/2: 137-146.

Lavrenchenko, L., S. Kruskop, P. Morozov. 2004. Notes on the Bats (Chiroptera Collected by the Joint Ethiopian-Russian Biological Expedition, with Remarks on Their Systematics, Distribution, and Ecology. Bonner Zoologische Beitrage, 52: 127-147.

Leroy, E., A. Epelboin, V. Mondonge, X. Pourrut, J. Gonzalez, J. Muyembe-Tamfum, P. Formenty. 2009. Human Ebola Outbreak Resulting from Direct Exposure to Fruit Bats in Luebo, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2007. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 9/6: 723-728.

Mickleburgh, S., A. Hutson, W. Bergmans, J. Fahr. 2012. "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Myonycteris torquata. Accessed March 02, 2013 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/14099/0.

Mickleburgh, S., A. Hutson, P. Racey. 1992. Old World Fruit Bats: An Action Plan for their Conservation. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Norberg, U., J. Rayner. 1987. Ecological Morphology and Flight in Bats (Mammalia; Chiroptera): Wing Adaptations, Flight Performance, Foraging Strategy and Echolocation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 316/1179: 335-427.

Nowak, R. 1994. Walker's Bats of the World. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Radhakrishna, S. 2005. Midnight's children: Solitary primates and gregarious chiropterans. Current Science, 89/7: 1208-1213.

Rodriguez, R., F. Hoffmann, C. Porter, R. Baker. 2006. The Bat Community of the Rabi Oilfield in the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas, Gabon. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington, 12: 423-428.

Thorn, E., J. Peterhans. 2009. Small Mammals of Uganda: Bats, Shrews, Hedgehog, Golden-moles, Otter-tenrec, Elephant-shrews, and Hares. Bonn, Germany: ZFMK. Accessed February 20, 2013 at http://www.zoologicalbulletin.de/BzB_Volumes/BzM_55/BZM_55_small.pdf.

Uchikawa, K. 1986. Mites of the genus Binuncus radford (Trombidiformes, Myobiidae) and information on host taxonomy deduced from them. The Journal of Parasitology, 72/2: 257-270.

Watts, C. 1970. Effects of Supplementary Food on Breeding in Woodland Rodents. Journal of Mammalogy, 51/1: 169-171.