Fruit bats in the genus Pteropus include the world's largest bat - the greater flying fox - which can have a wingspan of 180cm. They cannot echolocate, but don't really need to as their food (fruit and nectar) doesn't try to escape and because they roost in trees not in the pitch black of caves. Their eyesight alone is perfectly good enough for navigation. Fruit bats also have a very good sense of smell for detecting flowers and fruit.
Scientific name: Pteropus
A colony of the world's largest bats surges out of the canopy.
As the expedition journeys along the river, the boat's engines disturb a colony of flying foxes roosting in the tree tops. Flying foxes are the largest bats on the planet. Living in huge colonies flying foxes (or fruit bats) feed exclusively on fruit. By spreading the seeds in their faeces, the bats are responsible for the continued diversity of the forest, often dispersing the seeds for miles around.
Night shots of fruit bats fighting over their patch of figs.
Infra-red footage sheds light on fruit bats as they feed in fig trees at night. Using specially adapted thumbs like claws, these giant fruit bats can easily get around the branches of their favourite fruit tree, testing the ripeness of the fruits with their mouths before they eat them. The noise and commotion in the branches is caused by individuals squabbling over the figs, totally unaffected by the filming underneath. The bats are a vital part of the rainforest ecosystem, feeding on fruits and dispersing their seeds over 30 miles away.
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
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