Penthetor lucasiLucas's short-nosed fruit bat

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Geographic Range

The dusky fruit bat, Penthetor lucasi, inhabits the Malay Peninsula, the Riau Archipelago near Singapore, Sumatra, and Borneo (Nowak 1999).

Habitat

The dusky fruit bat is irregularly distributed throughout lowland and hill forests (Nowak 1999).

Physical Description

Head and body length in Penthetor lucasi is on average 114mm, with a tail 8-10mm long. The fur is coarse and smoky brown in color (Nowak 1999).

As with all Pteropodids, P. lucasi lacks facial features related to echolocation, such as a nose leaf or enlarged tragus. The eyes are large to account for a greater dependence on vision than seen in microchiropterans. It has a well-developed postorbital process, and a claw on the second digit with the second finger being independent. The palate extends beyond the last upper molar and has ridges (Feldhamer et al. 1999).

P. lucasi can be distinguished from other members of the family Pteropodidae based on the fact that it has only one pair of lower incisors, and that a tail is present and extremely thin as compared to other Pteropodids (Nowak 1999).

  • Range mass
    30 to 55 g
    1.06 to 1.94 oz

Reproduction

Research indicates that breeding in P. lucasi is seasonal. One study of pregnancy in P. lucasi revealed that the highest number of pregnant females were recorded in September, very few females were pregnant in June, and there were no recorded pregnancies in January, February, March, and July (Nowak 1999). There is typically only one offspring in a birth (Nowak 1999).

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual

Behavior

This species appears to be gregarious, roosting in large groups (Nowak 1999). P. lucasi roosts in caves, rock shelters, and in the nooks and crannies between boulders, a habit that likely limits its distribution (Nowak 1999).

Unlike the suborder Microchiroptera, members of the Megachiroptera, such as P. lucasi do not echolocate. They rely on vision and olfaction to navigate and locate food (Feldhamer 1999).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The dusky fruit bat is a frugivore. It emerges from its roost at dusk to feed at the nearest food source, often a fruit plantation (Nowak 1999). Food sources are located primarily through olfaction (Feldhamer 1999).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

As a frugivore, Penthetor lucasi may provide a valuable ecological service to humans in the dispersal of seeds of the plants they consume away from the parent tree, either through spitting the seeds out or passing them through the gut (Feldhamer 1999).

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Dusky fruit bats feed at the fruit source nearest to their roost, which is often a fruit plantation. In areas where the population density of these bats is high, their utilization of this abundant food source can cause considerable damage to and loss of the crop (Feldhamer 1999, Nowak 1999).

Conservation Status

Contributors

Barbara Lundrigan (author), Michigan State University, Melinda Girvin (author), Michigan State University.

Glossary

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.

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.

forest

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

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

sexual

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

tactile

uses touch to communicate

References

Feldhamer, G., L. Drickamer, S. Vessey, J. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy: Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. Boston: McGraw Hill.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, volume 1. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.