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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Lesser False Vampire
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4
 

Order : CHIROPTERA
Family : Megadermatidae
Species : Megaderma spasma

Forearm Length : up to 6 cm
Weight : up to 34 grams

The Lesser False Vampire inhabits mainly primary or mature secondary forest. Its roosts include hollow trees and manmade structures such as road culverts. Roosting groups may comprise up to 5 individuals closely packed together.

In the field, false vampires can be identified primarily by their large, rounded ears, which are joined at the base. Closer inspection reveals a tragus which is bifurcate (the tragus is the pointed structure inside the ear), and a noseleaf comprising a long lobe stiffened by a central ridge.

The fur is grey to brown, and the short tail does not extend outside the interfemoral membrane.

The species feeds mainly on large insects (moths, grasshoppers etc.) and sometimes small vertebrates (such as lizards). False vampires do not drink blood, as their name implies.

The species ranges throughout Southeast Asia from Sri Lanka and India in the west to the Philippines and eastern Indonesia.


Fig 1 : A lone bat roosts by day in the shelter of a forest hut.

Figs 2 to 4 : A roosting group photographed in a road culvert.

All photos from Gunung Pulai, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.


References : M1, M2