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Rodrigues Fruit Bat (Pteropus rodricensis) Fact Sheet: Physical Characteristics

Rodrigues Fruit Bat (Pteropus rodricensis)

Physical Characteristics

Body measurements

Attribute Measurement
Body Weight 254-300 g (0.6-0.7 lb)
Body Length about 35 cm (13-14 in)
Wingspan 75-90 cm (30-35 in)

General Appearance

General

  • Members of Pteropus include the largest fruit bats but P. rodricensis is a small member of this genus
  • Fruit bat have short, foxy or dog-like face with juvenile appearance, strong jaws for tough-skinned fruit and short ears.
  • Bats' (Chiroptera) wings are supported by four elongated fingers; birds and the extinct pterosaurs wings are supported by arm bones and a single finger. (UCMP 2010)

Pelage

  • Fur is woolly
  • Golden fur on head, neck and shoulders; golden color may extend down back; dark brown elsewhere.
  • Wings not furred, black
  • Molt once a year.
  • Most bats don't have striking colors and patterns
    • Species with more vivid fur colors roost in trees (like Rodrigues fruit bats) or open shelters

Sexual Dimorphism

  • No significant difference in weight between sexes
  • Males slightly larger

Other Physical Characteristics

  • Lack complex echolocation; navigate with large eyes, acute hearing, good sense of smell
  • Ears lack a tragus, the fleshy projection at the border of the ear opening, present in other bat families
  • Nose pad isn't highly specialized like many microchiropteran bats
  • Second digit has a claw; other living bats only have claws on first digit (Vaughn et al 2010)
  • Eyes black
    • Excellent vision; visual acuity similar to that of a cat (Schwab & Pettigrew 2005)
    • In a study of three Pteropus species, photo receptor cells allow limited color vision (Müller et al 2007); can see red (Wang et al 2004)
    • Receptors in the retina are sensitive to UV light (only other mammals known to have this ability are a few rodents) (Wang et al 2004) (Zhao et al 2009)
  • Teeth
    • Pteropid bats have 34 teeth (Heard 1999)
    • Teeth elongated and flat for chewing fruit
    • Incisors small
    • Canines present in all bats
    • Milk teeth highly specialized (tiny, quite sharp with hooked spicules) for clinging to mother in flight. (Hill and Smith 1988)
  • Triangular external ears; not as complex as those of microbats
  • Stomach is large and complex, small intestine long and looped
    • Provide area for absorption of fruit nutrients
  • Members of Pteropodidae family considered generalized in their body form and ecological specializations. (Dumont 2003)

Rodrigues Fruit Bat

Rodrigues fruit bat hanging

The Rodrigues fruit bat is a large-bodied bat with distinctive golden, wooly fur.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Altringham (1996)
Hill & Smith (1988)
McNab & Armstrong (2001)
Vaughn et al. (2010)
West & Redshaw (1987)
AZA (2000)

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