Peters' Epauletted Fruit Bat (Epomophorus crypturus)
Peters' Epauletted Fruit Bats are a common species in part of the southern Africa subregion, including Mozambique, eastern Zaire, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and parts of South Africa. They congregate in large colonies of up to hundreds of individuals and make a great deal of noise together, especially when returning after a night's foraging. They hang upside-down from the thinner branches of evergreen trees, whose thick foliage provides cover. As they jockey for position, interfering neighbours are slashed with wings and with the sharp claw at the end of the first digit or thumb on the leading edge of the wing. Eventually they all settle down, slightly spaced out from one another, and silence reigns for the day.
The so-called epaulette on each shoulder of the males is a patch of white hairs covering a sunken glandular pouch. The hairs come into prominence when the pouches are turned outwards. This happens when the animal is under stress, when it vocalises, and possibly also when it is sexually stimulated. The male's call is a musical bark, usually uttered as it hangs in its accustomed position. These bats prefer soft, pulpy fruits. In their raids on cultivated crops, they ignore apples and pears, but eat peaches, figs, and similar juicy fruits. A single young is produced, which clings to one of its mother's nipples and is carried by her while she is feeding.
Length (including tail) (m) 15 cm, (f) 12 cm; wingspan 56 cm; mass (m) 105 g, (f) 76 g.
Usually brownish buff, sometimes pale buff, the underparts being lighter in colour. There are white patches at the base of the ears, and the male has white 'epaulettes' on the shoulders.
Wahlberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat. The only way to separate the two species is to examine their skulls. Peters' has two ridges across the palate behind the last molar teeth, while Wahlberg's has only one.
Evergreen forests and riverine woodland, always in association with fruit-bearing trees.
Walberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi)
Walberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat
These bats are grayish brown, russet, or tawny in color. Air sacks are present on the necks of males. These sacks are used in food collection, and may aid in creating a megaphone effect of the calls used by males to attract females during courtship. The males have shoulder epaulets that are used in courtship displays.
White spots of fur are located at the top part of the base of the ear in both sexes. Scent glands are located at the places where the white ear spots and shoulder epaulets are found. The ear is simple and oval, forming an unbroken ring, with no tragus. These bats do not have a nose leaf. They are strong fliers, and travel as far as ten kilometers to find food. Their eyes are very large. Sight, as well as smell, are what these bats use most often to locate their surroundings. Their jaws are strong, and their teeth are adapted to a fruit diet.
Distribution: The Walberg's epauletted fruit bat can be found in Africa, anywhere south of the Sahara desert. These bats live in woodland and savannah areas, and prefer the edges of forests. During the summer, they migrate in large numbers to Tzaneen, in the Zoutpansberg district of South Africa, attracted by the ripening crop of guavas.
The total body length is between 125mm and 250mm long, and the wing span in males is about 508mm.
40 to 120 g
During the day, they live in hollow trees, underneath large leaves, and beneath the eaves of buildings. They often roost where there in considerable light. Every few days, they will move to a new roosting site. They roost in small groups containing mixed ages of males and females, the size of which range from three to one hundred individuals. They often choose the same spot to roost, at certain times of the year, for many consecutive years. While hanging from their feet in their roosts, they will isolate themselves from their neighbors by short distances. While roosting, they remain relatively quiet, and do not move very much. They make it a point to not intrude on each other's space.
Once the fruit ripens, they group together in the tree for several nights, and eat the ripened fruit. They often completely strip the tree of all of its fruit. These bats are active mostly in the evening and at night, but have been observed flying in the daytime.
Main feeding time:
Gestation lasts from five to six months.
Number of young at birth: Young are born singly, in most cases, but twins are occasionally seen
These bats are frugivorous. They chew the fruit, swallow the juice, and spit out most of the pulp and seeds. They swallow some of the softer pulp, and some of the seeds. They also chew flowers to get the nectar and juices. They feed on figs, mangoes, guavas, bananas, peaches, apples, papayas, and small berries. The smell of ripening fruit is what attracts them to their food source.
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