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Indian Flying Fox
News: India’s largest species of bats, named after a canine fabled to be sly, spend 7% of their day-roosting time being environmentally vigilant, a new study has said.
About Indian Flying Fox:
• The nectar and fruit-eating flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) is generally considered a vermin as they raid orchards. It had a similar official status under Schedule V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 until it was put on the Schedule II list entailing a higher degree of protection.
• Pteropus giganteus is characterized by its large size and fox-like facial features. Usually displays a dark brown, gray, or black body, often with a distinct yellowish mantle (typical of Pteropus genus).
• Typically, Males are generally larger than females.
• They are found in tropical regions of South Central Asia, from Pakistan to China, and as far south as the Maldive Islands.
What are the key findings of the study?
• The study unveiled that Pteropus giganteus practices vigilant behaviour during daylight roosting, dedicating about 7% of their resting time to watch for dangers, contrary to their nocturnal nature.
• The study distinguished between social vigilance (observing nearby individuals for conflicts) and environmental vigilance (watching for signs of danger in the surroundings).
• The study observed that vigilance levels varied based on the spatial positioning of the bats within roosting trees, confirming the edge effect hypothesis.
• These bats, acting as a keystone species known for their nectar and fruit-eating habits, contribute significantly to pollination and seed dispersal, thereby playing a vital role in maintaining ecosystem health and biodiversity.
• The findings emphasize the urgency of protecting Pteropus giganteus and its habitat to ensure the preservation of its ecological role and the overall balance of the ecosystem.