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Monday, December 31, 2012

Bats

Order Chiroptera


This order contains the flying mammals - bats. There are 24 species in Singapore.

Megabats (Suborder Megachiroptera)

Megabats are also called Fruit Bats. This suborder contains a single family (Family Pteropodidae). They are fruit/nectar eaters as opposed to the microbats (Suborder Microchiroptera), which are mainly insect eaters (although some feed on blood, fish or nectar).

There are 5 confirmed species in Singapore. 2 others - Island Flying Fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) and Short-nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopterus sphinx) - need to be confirmed.

Malayan Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus) - Rare
Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) - Common
Dusky Fruit Bat (Penthetor lucasi) - Uncommon
Common Long-tongued Fruit Bat (Macroglossus minimus) - Rare
Cave Nectar Bat (Eonycteris spelaea) - Common

Malayan Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus)

This is the largest fruit bat that can be found in Singapore.


Singapore Zoo ©Tan KH

Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis)

This is the most common fruit/nectar-eating bat in Singapore. It is also known as the Common Fruit Bat. It roosts under broad leaves (e.g. palm, banana leaves) and usually occurs in a group. Although mainly nocturnal, it can sometimes be seen in broad daylight. The female has a yellow collar, while the male has a red collar.


Left: female. Right: male ©Eddy Lee


Roosting. Left: under building ©Eddy Lee. Right: Under palm tree ©Tan GC


In the Singapore Zoo compound ©Tan KH

Cave Nectar Bat (Eonycteris spelaea)

This is a dark-coloured bat with greyish belly.


Rifle Range ©Eddy Lee

Rifle Range ©Danny Lau

Microbats (Microchiroptera)

Microbats are smaller than the megabats. They are mainly insect eaters, although some eat blood, fish, nectar, fruits and even small mammals. Most use echolocation to detect prey. In 2005, it was thought that only 15 species of microbats are left in Singapore[1,2]. However, with recent discovery and rediscoveries[3,4,5,6], our microbat diversity has took a leap to 19 species.

This raises hope for the rediscovery of the 6 extirpated species: Lesser Woolly Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus sedulus), Lesser Brown Horseshoe Bat (R. stheno), Fawn Roundleaf Bat (Hipposideros cervinus), Ridley's Roundleaf Bat (H. ridleyi), Singapore Whiskered Bat (Myotis oreias) and Wrinkle-lipped Free-tailed Bat (Chaerephon plicatus). Of these, the Singapore Whiskered Bat is the most interesting, being the only species thought to be endemic to Singapore[7].

There are now 19 species in Singapore.

Lesser Sheath-tailed Bat (Emballonura monticola) - Rare
Black-bearded Tomb Bat (Taphozous melanopogon) - Rare
Pouched Tomb Bat (Saccolaimus saccolaimus) - Common
Southeast Asian Hollow-faced Bat (Nycteris tragata) - Rare
Lesser False Vampire (Megaderma spasma) - Rare
Glossy Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus lepidus) - Common
Trefoil Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus trifoliatus) - Rare
Woolly Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus luctus) - Rare
Bicolored Roundleaf Bat (Hipposideros bicolor) - Rare
Hardwicke's Woolly Bat (Kerivoula hardwickii) - Rare
Whiskered Myotis (Myotis muricola) - Common
Grey Large-footed Myotis (Myotis adversus) - Common
Lesser Asiatic Yellow House Bat (Scotophilus kuhlii) - Common
Lesser Bamboo Bat (Tylonycteris pachypus) - Rare
Greater Bamboo Bat (Tylonycteris robustula) - Uncommon
Javan Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus javanicus) - Rare
Narrow-winged Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus stenopterus) - Rare
Brown Tube-nosed Bat (Murina suilla) - Rare
Naked Bulldog Bat (Cheiromeles torquatus) - Rare

Lesser Sheath-tailed Bat (Emballonura monticola)

Sheath-tailed Bats are so called because the tail is hidden in the skin between the tails. This species is the smallest of them all, hence its name.


Malaysia. Left: ©Con Foley. Right: ©Eddy Lee

Trefoil Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus trifoliatus)

Horseshoe bats are so called because of the facial pattern which looks like a horseshoe. This species has yellow ears.


Malaysia ©Con Foley

Whiskered Myotis (Myotis muricola)

This is a common insectivorous bat in Singapore.


Whiskered Myotis at Woodlands ©Tan KH

References
[1] http://www.mbcru.com/index_files/Pottie%20et%20al.%202005--Acta.pdf
[2] http://www.mbcru.com/index_files/Lane%20et%20al.%202006.pdf
[3] http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2009/2009nis83-90.pdf
[4] http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2009/2009nis215-230.pdf
[5] http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2009/2009nis323-327.pdf
[6] http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2010/2010nis159-165.pdf
[7] http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/14186/0

5 comments:

  1. Hi, I found an injured bat on the ground. What should I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, may I know what course of action did you do in the end? Cause I found a baby bat and I don't know what to do as well. I couldn't bear to leave it crawling on the ground as there are many stray cats around.

      Delete
    2. If you encounter such situations in the future, call ACRES Wildlife Rescue
      Hotline (24-hour) at 9783 7782.

      Delete
  2. Do bats carry seeds and sometimes drop them accidentally? I found a very heavy large seed dropped on my lounge carpet - too big for a bird to carry. The next night I noticed a large bat fly in and then back out the open windows and I wondered if bats do carry seeds back to a feeding area?
    Also do bats have large poop? We found a large poop on the back verandah which contained a lot of fruit. If it weren't for the fruit contents I would have thought it was from a cat as it was that size. Could this be a large bat?
    BTW I live in a landed property in a heavily wooded area close to Orchard Rd.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, it does look like it's the bats doing..
    Nice!!! Enjoy bat watching..

    ReplyDelete