Long-tongued Nectar Bat - Biology and Ecology

Biology and Ecology

Males constituted 53% and females 47% of the total captures. About 77% were adults and the remaining were subadults and fledging immatures. Pregnancy in females (n = 5) was observed in September 1996 at Pontianak and in July at Tawau Hills and Poring. Five other males netted at Tawau and Poring in July had enlarged testes indicating they were sexually active. An immature was captured in June 1996 at Padawan and from June to July subadults (n = 24) were netted near the forest edges of Tawau Hills and Poring including the mangrove swamp at Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary. Two females from Poring, Sabah were pregnant in July from the Pontianak area in Kalimantan Barat was pregnant in September. A tagged female released from a canopy net at Poring was later recaptured about 250 m at the forest edge.

In Malaysia, Start (1974) estimated that gestation period for Macroglossus minimus was approximately 120 ± 10 days, lactation was between 60 to 70 days and polyoestrous female with breeding interval of 140 to 160 days. In Negros, the Philippines, females probably produced 2 to 2.5 young per year (Heideman 1987). In different locations in Philippines and Malaysia the species also reproduced aseasonally and synchronously in response to food abundance (Heideman 1987; Start 1974). Three females collected in September and October on Lombok Island were lactating and parturition was recent (Kitchener et al., 1990). At Ampenam on Lombok, births occurred throughout the year and at Suranadi Park pregnant and lactating females were collected in August through October (Gunnell et al.1996). A female collected by Lim et al. (1972) in June in Sarawak was pregnant. In New Guinea, births occurred all year round (Flannery 1990). Gunnell et al. (1996) reported that the forearm growth rate was 0.24 mm/day and weight gain 0.07 g per day and free-flying immature had forearm 35.2 mm and weight 8.6 g.

Unlike the C. brachyotis, this species was not recorded in a flock, which suggest of small group or solitary social group. Mangrove and banana flowers are among the sources of the nectar and pollens fed on by the species in Malaysia (Payne et al. 1985). Ecologically, the long-tongued nectar bat plays a major role as pollinator of many trees including Bignoniaceae, Bombaceae, Leguminosae, Musaceae, Myrtaceae, Musaceae and Sonneratiaceae in Peninsular Malaysia (Start and Marshall 1976). M. minimus has been recorded in coastal mangrove, dipterocarp forest, and lower montane forest up to 1000 m (Payne et al. 1985). It feeds on nectar and pollen. M. minimus was caught in Nypa and mangrove swamps, coconut and banana plantations, forest edges with banana clumps and shifting cultivation areas. —

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