Flying fox bats

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Context:

India’s largest species of bats, named after a canine fabled to be sly, spends 7% of its day-roosting time being environmentally vigilant, a new study has said.

About Flying fox:

  • The nectar and fruit-eating flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) is generally considered a vermin as they raid orchards.
  • It is a keystone species causing seed dispersals of many plants in tropical systems.
  • A keystone species is one that has a disproportionately large effect on its natural environment relative to its abundance, impacting many other organisms in an ecosystem and helping to determine the types and numbers of other species in an ecological community.
  • It is a species of flying fox native to the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is one of the largest bats in the world.
  • It is of interest as a disease vector, as it is capable of transmitting several viruses to humans.
  • It is nocturnal and feeds mainly on ripe fruits, such as mangoes and bananas, and nectar.
  • The Indian flying fox is found across the Indian Subcontinent, including in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Tibet, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Most bats forage at night and spend more than half of their lives roosting during the day in camps or colonies.
  • Being external roosters, the flying fox is exposed to predators and disturbances apart from environmental indicators such as heat and light.
  • It had a vermin status under the Schedule V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 until it was put on the Schedule II list, entailing a higher degree of protection.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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