The fruit diets of two species of frugivorous bats (Cynopterus brachyotis and Cynopterus horsfieldii) were investigated over a 12-month period in the tropical hill dipterocarp forest of the Sungai Lalang Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia, a place where ecological studies are lacking. Mist nets were used to capture bats, and seeds were collected from faecal samples and/or fruit remnants found together with netted bats, from seed traps placed beneath feeding and/or day roosts, and at feeding trees. Fruits of 18 identified plant species from 10 families were consumed by one or both species, eight of which are species not previously reported as plants consumed by Cynopterus spp. Seeds collected from faecal collections, seed traps under roosts and feeding trees suggested that Ficus spp., Piper aduncum and Pternandra echinata are important food sources and thus should be considered keystone resources for sustaining populations of Cynopterus spp., especially when other preferred plant species such as Nauclea subdita and Elaeocarpus stipularis were not in flower/fruit. This study is among the very few to document the fruit diet of frugivorous bats in the tropical hill forests of Peninsular Malaysia, results that highlight the conservation importance of these species.
©2012 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston