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Friday, April 25, 2008

Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus)

Not exactly a bird but . . .

think its the PTEROPUS GIGANTEUS or the Indian Flying Fox

These animals can be found in forests and swamps. Large groups of individuals roost in trees such as banyan, fig, and tamarind. Roosting trees are usually in the vicinity of a body of water.
The physical appearance of this species is similar to that of megachiropterans in general, with large eyes, simple ears, and no facial ornamentation. Dark brown, gray, or black body color with a contrasting yellowish mantle is typical of the genus Pteropus. Body mass ranges from 600 to 1600 g and males are generally larger than females. Wingspan may range from 1.2 to 1.5 m and body length averages 23 cm. Members of the genus Pteropus maintain body temperatures between 33 and 37 C, but must do this through constant activity
This species is polygynandrous, with no pair bonds occurring between males and females. Females are defended from intruding males by males that live in their roosting tree.
Pteropus giganteus breeds yearly, with mating occurring from July to October, and births occurring from February to May. To initiate copulation, a male will fan his wings toward a female, and persistently follow her until he is able to grip the scruff of her neck with his teeth and hold her with his thumbs. Copulation occurs for a duration of 30 to 40 seconds. The female usually vocalizes and physically resists the advances of the male during the encounter. After copulation, the male again follows the female while vocalizing loudly. Gestation period is typically 140 to 150 days, after which 1 to 2 young are born. Like other members of the genus Pteropus, the young are carried by the mother for the first few weeks of life. Sexual maturity for this species occurs at about 1.5 years of age.After birth, young are carried by the mother for the first three weeks of life. They begin to hang by themselves after this time period, but are still carried to feeding sites by the mother. Young learn to fly at about 11 weeks of age and are weaned at 5 months. Males do not participate in parental care.
The longest lifespan of an individual of this species in captivity was recorded at 31 years, 5 months. Little information is available regarding life expectancy in the wild.
Pteropus giganteus is a social species, with large groups of several hundred individuals living in the same tree. Males may maintain a vertical dominance hierarchy of resting spots in the tree, and may also defend the roost and associated females from intruders. During the day, these animals sleep, hanging upside down by their feet with their wings wrapped around themselves. They also fan themselves to aid in thermoregulation, move around in the roosting tree, and communicate with each other. As they are nocturnal, they leave the tree at sunset to feed, returning after several hours of finding food, feeding, digesting, and resting.
The roosting tree is the area in which Indian flying foxes spend the majority of the day. This species, as well as other large species of Pteropus, is reported to travel up to 15 km to find food.
Communication among individuals of this species is vocal. They chatter and squawk when threatened. Typical of megachiropterans, P. giganteus does not echolocate, and relies on sight rather than hearing for navigation. Because of their use of vision, there is probably communication involving body postures and positioning. Tactile communication is important during mating, as well as between mothers and their offspring.
Pteropus giganteus is frugivorous, as are other species of the Suborder Megachiroptera, otherwise known as the Old World fruit bats. This species has been reported to eat many different species of fruit, including guava, mango, and fig. An individual of the genus Pteropus squeezes out fruit juices from the pulp against the roof of its mouth, and then discards the dry material. Some Pteropus species also supplement their dietary protein by eating insects. Others, including P. giganteus, eat the blossoms and nectar of fruiting plants

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