Roost Preference in Three Species of Pteropodid Bats in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi, Tamilnadu, South India

S. Balasingh

PG and Research Department of Zoology, St. John’s College, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli-627002, Affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli, Tamilnadu-627012, India.

Ezhilmathi Sophia *

PG and Research Department of Zoology, St. John’s College, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli-627002, Affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli, Tamilnadu-627012, India.

S. Suthakar Isaac

PG and Research Department of Zoology, St. John’s College, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli-627002, Affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli, Tamilnadu-627012, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Roost preference, roosting ecology and roost resource partitioning of megachiropteran bats in the plains of Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts of Tamilnadu, South India, were investigated from January 2021 to December 2022. Three species of megachiropterans bats namely Pteropus medius, Cynopterus sphinx and Rosettus leschanaulti were recorded in the study area. P. medius roosts in open foliage on trees like Terminalia arjuna (46.90%), Samanea saman (13.53%), Ficus religiosa (12.09%), Ficus benghalensis (5.27%), Bassia latifolia (5.04%), Tamarindus indica (4.89%), Sygium cumini (4.71%), Manjifera Indica (2.32%), Thespesia populnea (1.93%), Pongamia pinnata (1.38%), Pithecellobium dulce (0.90%), Albizia lebbeck (0.74%), and Azadirachta indica (0.23%). C. sphinx roosts in Borassus flabellifer (68.55%), Polyalthia longifolia (25.90%) and Pritchardia pacifica (5.54%). Generally, the native trees are preferred by these bats as the favorite roost. R. leschanaulti prefers temples (56.52%), water wells (18.53%), stone buildings (17.16%) and abandoned houses (7.78%). Diversity measures with regard to Margalef index, Berger Parker index and Evenness index, comparatively; higher values were reported in C. sphinx (9.433), R. leschanaulti (0.270) and C. sphinx (0.925) respectively. The distribution pattern and roost preference of megachiropteran bats reveal that these bat species serve as bio-indicator of the agricultural landscape in the wetland ecosystem. It is evident that these three symbiotic bat species exhibit roost preference, and roost resources partitioning in the study area.

Keywords: Megachiropteran bat, habitat preference, water bodies, agriculture fields, species diversity, roost resource partitioning

How to Cite

Balasingh , S., Sophia , E., & Isaac , S. S. (2023). Roost Preference in Three Species of Pteropodid Bats in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi, Tamilnadu, South India. UTTAR PRADESH JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 44(7), 53–72.


Download data is not yet available.


Van Den Bussche RA, Hoofer SR. Phylogenetic relationships among recent chiropteran families and the importance of choosing appropriate out- -group taxa. J Mammal. 2004;85(2):321-30.

Bats of the world. An introduction to the amazing variety of bats. Bat conservation trust, quadrant house, 250 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5RD. USA; 2015.

Springer MS, Teeling EC, Madsen O, Stanhope MJ, de Jong WW. Integrated fossil and mo-lecular data reconstruct bat echolocation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001;98(11):6241-6.

Teeling EC, Madsen O, Bussche VRA. Microbat paraphily and the convergent evolution of a key innovation in Old World Rhinolo¬phoid microbats. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002;9(3):1431-6.

Bates PJJ, Harrison DL. Bats of the Indian subcontinent. Sevenoaks, Kent, UK: Harrison Zoological Museum. 1997; 258.

Srinivasulu C, Srinivasulu B. First record of Hipposideros ater Tem-Pleton, 1848 from Andhra Pradesh, India with a description of a new species. Zoos Print J. 2006 [journal];21(5):2241-4.

Srinivasulu C, Srinivasulu B, Kaur H, Venkateshwarlu P, Kumar GC. New distribution record and a review on Hipposideros fulvus Gray, 1838 (Mammalia: Chirop¬tera: Hipposideridae) distribution from Andhra Pradesh, India. Check List. 2013;9(1):139-41.

Ali A. Species diversity of bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in Assam, Northeast India. 2022;6(3).

Available: 10.5281/ zenodo.6603976.

Stephen M, Albert C, Petchiammal G, Vanitharani J. Analyzing the impact of fruit bats (Rousettus leschenaulti and Cynopterus sphinx) in the tropical ecosystem of Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India. Cutting Edge Res Biol. 2022; 1(7):33-59.

Kunz TH, Braun de Torrez E, Bauer D, Lobova T, Fleming TH. Ecosystem services provided by bats. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011;1223:1-38.

Bergallo HG, Esberard CEL, Mello MAR, Lins V, Mangolin R, Melo GGS et al. Bat species richness in Atlantic Forest: what is the minimum sampling effort? 1. Biotropica. 2003;35(2):278-88.

Kunz TH. Roosting ecology. In: Kunz TH, editor. Ecology of bats. New York: Plenum Press; 1982. p. 1-55. 6.

Stephenraj D, Isaac SS, Kunz TH, Stanley JA. Foraging behaviour of megachiropteran bats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in Courtallam, Tamil Nadu, South India. Bioinfolet. 2010;7(2): 175-80.

Sudhakaran MR, Doss PS. Distribution and movement of Pteropus giganteus in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts of Tamil Nadu, India. Small Mamm Mail. 2011;4(1):35-9.

Dhivahar J, Suthakar Isaac S. Survey on Distribution and Conservation status of the Indian flying fox Pteropus giganteus: A bioindicator of wetland Ecosystem. Res J. Chem. Environ Sci. 2018;6(1):75-80, Online ISSN 2321-1040.

Korad V, Yardi K, Raut R. Diversity and distribution of bats in the Western Ghats of India. Zoo’s Print J. 2007;16:629-39.

Swamidoss PD, Sudhakaran MR, Parvathiraj P. Res J Biol Sci. Habitat preference of microchiropteran bats in three districts of Tamilnadu, South India. 2012;1(5):24-30.

Ganesh T, Saravanan A, Mathivanan M. Temple and bats in a homogenous agricultural landscape: Importance of microhabitat availability, disturbance and land use for bat conservation Plos One. 2022;17(7):e0251771.

Rainey WE, Pierson ED. Distribution of Pacific Island flying foxes. In: Wilson DE, Graham GL, editors. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rept,. Proceedings of thean International Conservation Conference. 1992;111-21.

Nowak RM. Walker’s mammals of the world. 6th ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopins University Press, Maryland 1:1; 1999; 836.

Krystufek B. On the Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) colony in Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, Sri Lanka. Hystrix Ital J Mammal. 2009;20(1):29-35.

Storz JF, Kunz TH. Cynopterus sphinx. Mamm Species. 1999;(613):1-8.

Balasingh J, Koilraj J, Kunz TH. Tent construction by the short-nosed fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in southern India. Ethology. 1995;100(3):210-29.

Gopukumar N, Karuppudurai T, Nathan PT, Sripathi K, Arivarignan G, Balasingh J. Solitary adult males in a polygynous mating bat (Cynopterus sphinx): A forced option or a strategy? J Mammal. 2005;86(2):281-6.

Krishna A, Dominic CJ. Reproduction in the female short nosed fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx (Vahl). Period Biol. 1983;85:23-30.

Balasingh J, Isaac SS, Subbaraj R. Tent-roosting by the frugivorous bat, Cynopterus sphinx (Vahl 1797) in southern India. Curr Sci. 1993;65:418.

Gopukumar N, Elangovan V, Sripathi K, Marimuthu G, Subbaraj R. Foraging behaviour of the Indian short-nosed fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx. Z Saugetier Kunde. 1999;64:187-91.

Sreenivasan MA, Bhat HR. Record of a piebald fulvous fruit bat, Rousettus leschenaulti Desmarest. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc. 1974;71:598-600.

Elangovan V, Raghuram H, Yuvana Satya Priya EY, Marimuthu G. Wing morphology and flight performance in Rousettus leschenaulti. J Mammal. 2004;85(4):806-12. doi: 10.1644/BWG-131.

Gopalakrishna A. Post-partum pregnancy in the Indian fruit bat – Rousettus leschenaultia (Desmarest). Curr Sci. 1964;33:558-9.

Bhatnagar KP, Wible JR, Karim KB. Development of the vomeronasal organ in Rousettus leschenaulti (megachiroptera, Pteropodidae). J Anat. 1996;188(1):129-35. PMID 8655399.

Elangovan V, Raghuram H, Satya Priya EY, Marimuthu G. Postnatal growth, age estimation and development of foraging behaviour in the fulvous fruit bat Rousettus leschenaulti. J Biosci. 2002;27(7):695-702.

Vanlalnghaka C. Seasonal variation in the diet of the frugivorous bat. Rousettus leschenaultia. Sci Vis. 2015;15:106-14.

Raghuram H, Gopukumar NK, Sripathi K. Presence of single as well double clicks in the echolocation signals of a fruit bat Rousettus leschenaulti (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae). Folia Zool. 2007;56:33-8.

Raghuram H, Thangadurai C, Gopukumar N, Nathar K, Sripathi K. The role of olfaction and vision in the foraging behaviour of an echolocating megachiropteran fruit bat, Rousettus leschenaulti (Pteropodidae). Mamm Biol. 2009;74(1):9-14.

Sudhakaran MR, Doss PS. Food and foraging preferences of three pteropodid bats in southern India. J Threat Taxa. 2012;4(1):2295-303.

Shahbaz M, Javid A, Javed T, Mahmood-Ul-Hassan M, Hussain SM. Morphometrics of fulvous fruit bat (Rousettus leschenaulti) from Lahore, Pakistan. J Anim Plant Sci. 2014;243:955-96.

Mukesh Kumar S, Y, Mathur V, Elangovan V. Roost selection and roosting ecology of fulvous fruit bat, Rousettus leschenaulti (Pteropodidae). Int J Adv Biol Res. 2015;5:62-8.

Kunz TH, Thomas DW, Richards GC, et al. Observational techniques for bats. In: Wilson DE, Cole FR, Nichils JD, et al. editors. Measuring and monitoring biological diversity: standard methods for mammals. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1996;105-14.

O’Shea TJ, Vaughan TA. Nocturnal and Seasonal Activities of the Pallid Bat, Antrozous Pallidus. J Mammal. 1977; 58(3):269-84.

Mickleburgh SP, Hutson AM, Racey PA. An action plan for their conservation. Gland, Switzerland: World Conservation Union, Old world fruit bat. ISBN 2-8317-0055-8; 1992.

Vanitharani J, Thomas N, Jeyapraba L, Mercy C, Ponmalar PS, Basil GS. Inventory message about bat species of Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve (Tamil Nadu, India) through Global Positioning System (GPS). Theor Exp Biol. 2013;10(1 and 2):01-20 (ISSN: 0972-9720).

Jeyapraba L. Roosting ecology of Pteropus giganteus (brunnich, 1782) Indian Flying Fox and threats for their survival. Int J Comp Res Dev (IJCRD). 2016;I(I).

Stephen M, Albert C, Petchiammal G, Vanitharani J. Impact of fruit bats (Rousettus leschenaulti and Cynopterus sphinx) in the tropical ecosystem of Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India. Uttar Pradesh J Zool. 2022;43(8): 1-19.

Brosset A 1962. The bats of central and western India. Part I. Bom J. Nat. Hist Soc;59:1-57. 11.

King Immanuel J. Ecological studies on the behaviour of the Indian fulvus fruit bat Rousettus leschenaulti (Pteropodidae: Chiroptera) [PhD dissertation]. Tirunelveli: Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. 2002;12.

Kunz TH, Fenton MB. Bat ecology. Chicago and london: The university of Chicago Press. 2003;77.

Balamurugan S, Sophia E, Swamidoss DP, Isaac SS. Conservation of the Indian flying fox at Murappanadu sacred grove in Tamil Nadu, India. Small Mamm Mail 440, In: Zoo’s Print. 2021;36(12): 19-21.

Margalef R. Information theory in ecology. Gen Syst. 1958;3:36-71.

Berger WH, Parker FL. Diversity of planktonic Foraminifera in deep-sea sediments. Science. 1970;168(3937): 1345-7.

Kvålseth TO. Evenness indices once again: Critical analysis of properties. Springerplus. 2015;4:Article number: 232.

Swift SM, Racey PA. Resource partitioning in two species of vespertilionid bats (Chiroptera) occupying the same roost. J Zool. 1983;200(2):249-59.

Emrich MA, Clare EL, Symondson WOC, Koenig SE, Melville Brock Fenton. Resource partitioning by insectivorous bats in Jamaica. Mol Ecol. 2013;23(15): 3648-56.