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Vertical Stratification of Fruit Bats (Pteropodidae) in Lowland Dipterocarp Rainforest in Malaysia

Charles M. Francis
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Vol. 10, No. 4 (Nov., 1994), pp. 523-530
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2559986
Page Count: 8
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Vertical Stratification of Fruit Bats (Pteropodidae) in Lowland Dipterocarp Rainforest in Malaysia
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Abstract

Mistnets were set at ground level and 11-30 m above ground in lowland rainforest at Kuala Lompat in peninsular Malaysia, and Sepilok in Sabah, to compare the abundance of fruit bats in the subcanopy and at ground level. Capture rates in the subcanopy were up to 100 times greater than at ground level, averaging 3-7 bats per net-night. Species diversity was higher in the subcanopy than forest understorey. Two species that were frequently captured in the subcanopy, Megaerops wetmorei and Dyacopterus spadiceus, were previously thought to be rare. The abundance of Old World fruit bats in the subcanopy indicates that their roles in pollination and seed dispersal of Malaysian forest trees may be greater than previously recognized. Further research on foraging ranges, food selection and roosting habits is required to determine the overall importance of fruit bats in forest regeneration through seed dispersal, and the adequacy of existing reserves for their conservation.

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