Bats in my porch: 17. Folivory

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The food of the Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) consists of mainly fruits, nectar and pollen LINK 1 and LINK 2. However, it occasionally takes leaves as shown in the image on the left (arrow).

The images below show two partially eaten leaves, displaying both sides for possible future identification. They were picked up below the roost. Leaves are usually chewed to extract the juice. The pulp as well as parts of the leaves end up on the ground below.

Leaves provide valuable nutrients not available in fruits, nectar and pollen (Nowak, 1994). They are also a rich source of protein that is not available in an exclusively frugivorous or nectivorous diet (Richards, 1995).

Folivory has been documented for several megachiropteran and a few microchiropteran species (Kunz & Diaz, 1995; Lowry, 1989).

YC Wee
October 2014

Kunz, T. H. & C. A. Diaz (1995). Folivory in fruit-eating bats, with new evidence from Artibeus jamaicensis (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). Biotropica 27:106-120.
2. Lowry, F. B. (1989). Green-leaf fractionation by fruit bats: is this feeding behaviour a unique nutritional strategy for herbivores? Austral. Wildl. Res. 16:203-306.
3. Nowak, R. M. (1994). Walker’s bats of the world. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London. 287 pp.
4. Richards, G. C., 1995. A review of ecological interactions of fruit bats in Australian ecosystems. In: Racey, P. A. & S. M. Swift (eds.), Ecology, behaviour, and evolution of bats. Symp. Zool. Soc. London, Clarendon Press, Oxford. p. 79-96

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