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Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox - Acerodon jubatus
Topic Started: Jan 7 2012, 02:34 PM (22,268 Views)
Taipan
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Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox - Acerodon jubatus

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The maximum size is believed to approach 1.5 kg (3.3 lb), 55 cm (22 in) long, and the wingspan may be almost 1.8 m (6 ft).

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Pteropodidae
Genus: Acerodon
Species: Acerodon jubatus

The largest bat species is the Giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus), a rare fruit bat and endangered species that is part of the megabat family. Despite its name and superficial appearance, it is not closely related to the fox.
It is active at night and can fly long distances up to 40 kilometers while hunting for food, eating a variety of fruits. Its favorite food is the ripe fig. Called the � silent planter �, it contributes greatly to forest regeneration, given its diet of fruit and seeds.

The maximum size is believed to approach 1.5 kg (3.3 lb), 55 cm (22 in) long, and the wingspan may be almost 1.8 m (6 ft).

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The three-layered virgin forest of Subic Bay provides home to the world's largest bats: the giant flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) and the golden crown flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus). Over the years, these two species of giant fruit bats have roamed around the 10,000-hectare Subic Forest National Protected Area, which is considered the biggest roosting site of bats in the world.

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An ordinary giant flying fox weighs up to 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms), heavier than a golden crown flying fox. The golden crown measures six feet in wingspan, the largest among all bats. The giant flying fox and the golden crown are just two of the 15 species of fruit bats in the country.

On any ordinary afternoon inside the Cubi Area of the Subic Forest, one can have a good view of the fruit bats which look like oversized black fruits hanging from almost bald trunks of palosapis, tanguile, yakal and apitong trees. These fruit bats stay in groups until they have eaten up all the fruits within the area.

These bats disperse thousands of seeds a night throughout the forest floor. There are more than 300 plant species that rely on the pollinating and seed dispersal services of bats. Some of these plants include bananas, mangoes, avocados and cashews. They also leave guano, one of the best natural fertilizers available to man.

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Habitat
The Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox is confined to the rainforests of the Philippines. They have been found in many different areas of rainforest from sea-level to montane forests. Acerodon jubatus loves uninhabited areas in fact in a recent study no bats were found in inhabited areas. This fact alone goes to show that that we have a basis to start conservation planning. In the same study they found that these bats use river corridors more than originally thought. This is because they are fruit eating bats and their main food is figs and figs are located near rivers as are many fruit trees are in the Philippines because it is much easier to grow there. Mildenstein also states that they do like to be close to agricultural fields but in undisturbed forest areas. In another study Stier shows that this species is a forest obligate species, which means they stay in the forest the majority of the time. Since this is a forest obligate species we need to conserve areas for the bats future. We as humans are taking valuable forest and lowland areas are one of the major factors as to why this species is becoming extinct

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Behavior
The Giant Golden Crowned Flying fox is primarily nocturnal, and can travel at least 40 km (25 miles) in one night searching for food. One amazing behavior of this bat is that it is a pollinator and seed disperser for many fruit trees in the Philippines. This is important because if we didn�t have species like this to pollinate plants of the same species we may see a possible reduction in fruit production. With a reduction in fruit production we would see a possible decline of this species because they would have no food to eat therefore they would either move to where there is food or they would die. In this instance since they solely live in the islands of the Philippines they would die off because there would be nowhere for them to go. Another interesting fact about this bat and a possible reason it lives near water is that it uses water for grooming. When they are flying the corridors the can swoop down and get water on their wings that can be later used for grooming and cleaning. In turn this cleaning will help the bats stay cleaner and hopefully clear from predators.

Diet
They eat primarily figs, though will take other fruit if figs are unavailable. They have been reported to eat cultivated fruit, but this is relatively rare. Other fruits that may be eaten include: puhutan, lamio, tangisang bayawak bankal and strangler figs. They are very important to the rainforests of the Philippines. Known as "The Silent Planter", they often drop seeds from flying or release them in their droppings. This helps forest regrow, and without the Giant Golden Crowned Flying fox, the Rainforest would likely die out without a distributor for seeds.

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Reproduction
Little is known about their reproduction. They appear to have two breeding seasons, but females only become pregnant during one of them. They typically give birth to only one. Females reach sexual maturity at two years.

Colonies
When fruit bats were very common in the Philippines, the Giant Golden Crowned Flying fox and the Large Flying fox would make colonies together along with Malayan Flying Foxes (Pteropus vampyrus), reportedly numbering over 150,000 individuals. It is this roosting behavior that made them so easy to hunt, but also keeps them keep warm and potentially free from predators.

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