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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Forest Short-nosed Fruit Bat

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3






Family : Pteropodidae
Species : Cynopterus minutus

Forearm Length : up to 6.0 cm
Weight : up to 24 grams

The Forest Short-nosed Fruit Bat, also known as 'Minute Fruit Bat', is the smallest of the Cynopterus group. This bat was formerly regarded as part of the Cynopterus brachyotis species complex, but is now broadly treated as a separate species. Its ecology appears to be little studied.

Cynopterus minutus occurs on the islands of  Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Sulawesi.

In Borneo it seems to be largely restricted to tall primary or disturbed secondary forest. It is known mainly from those lowland areas which still support good forest, but in some parts of the island is recorded up to 1800 metres elevation in montane forest.

In Sulawesi the species is strongly associated with disturbed lowland habitats, but also occurs in lower montane habitats up to 1200 metres elevation (Maryanto et al, 2011).

At Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra the species was found to favour true forest over adjacent disturbed agricultural areas: its small body allows it to navigate forest habitat dominated by leaves, twigs and branches which larger species of Cynopterus find less favourable (Ramadhan et al, 2014).

Fig 1 : Pair from Lambir Hills, Sarawak, Borneo roosting under a leaf of a wild banana tree. These bats appeared to be noticeably smaller than Cynopterus brachyotis, and are thus tentatively identified as Cynopterus minutus.

Fig 2 : Wild banana trees growing along a forest trail at Lambir Hills, Sarawak create favoured roosting sites for Cynopterus minutus.

Fig 3 : Possible example feeding on a forest fruit at Danum Valley, Sabah, Borneo.

References :

Maryanto, I., Yani, M., Prijono, S. N. & Wiantoro, S. (2011). Altitudinal distribution of fruit bats (Pteropodidae) in Lore Lindu National Park, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Hystrix蜂talian Journal of Mammalogy (NS), 22(1): 167-177.

Ramadhan, J. & Winarni, N. (2015). Habitat comparison of Cynopterus fruit bats at Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia. Taprobanica: The Journal of Asian Biodiversity, 7(1).