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Rousettus madagascariensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CHIROPTERA PTEROPODIDAE

Scientific Name: Rousettus madagascariensis
Species Authority: G. Grandidier, 1928
Common Name(s):
English Madagascan Rousette, Madagascar Rousette

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Andriafidison, D., Cardiff, S.G., Goodman, S.M., Hutson, A.M., Jenkins, R.K.B., Kofoky, A.F., Racey, P.A., Ranivo, J., Ratrimomanarivo, F.H. & Razafimanahaka, H.J.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species is listed as Near Threatened as it is believed to have undergone a decline in the region of 20-25% over the past 15 years or so primarily as a result of chronic hunting. Almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criterion A2d. This species is not thought to be declining fast enough to place it in a category of higher threat, although a review of this assessment may be warranted in future, especially with further information on the degree to which it may be impacted by habitat loss.
History:
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the island of Madagascar where it is widespread but rare or absent from the central highlands and the arid south-west (MacKinnon et al. 2003; Goodman et al. 2005).
Countries:
Native:
Madagascar
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It roosts in aggregations of up over a thousand individuals (MacKinnon et al. 2003; Rakotoarivelo and Randrianandriananina 2007) but smaller colonies of a few hundred are also known (Jenkins et al. 2007; Kofoky et al. 2007). It can be locally abundant and is often the most commonly trapped species in mist-netting surveys in the west of Madagascar (Kofoky et al. 2007; Rakotoarivelo and Randrianandriananina 2007).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It roosts in caves well beyond the twilight zone (MacKinnon et al. 2003). Few colonies are known to biologists even in areas with extensive underground cavities (MacKinnon et al. 2003; Kofoky et al. 2007) giving the impression that they have strict environmental requirements for roosting. This species is known from a number of sites that are without known roosts or caves (Andriafidison et al. 2006; Rakotoarivelo and Randrianandriananina 2007; Rakotonandrasana and Goodman 2007) and R. madagascariensis may therefore roost in other sites such as tree holes.

Although it is widely distributed it appears to be associated with forest formations (MacKinnon et al. 2003) and has also been trapped inside Eucalyptus plantations (Randrianandriananina et al. 2006) and from agricultural settings (Randrianandriananina et al. 2006; Kofoky et al. 2007; Rakotoarivelo and Randrianandriananina 2007) and in villages (Andriafidison et al. 2006).

It is able to fly within relatively intact forest (Kofoky et al. 2007) and therefore potentially plays a role as a seed disperser and pollinator. Compared with the two larger Malagasy fruit bat species, there is less information on its diet and foraging behaviour (Hutcheon 2003), but there are observations of it feeding on introduced fruits (Goodman 1999; Andrianaivoarivelo et al. 2007) where it can be considered as a pest (Hutcheon 2003; Andrianaivoarivelo et al. 2007). It is also known to feed on the fruit of endemic forest trees (Razafindrakoto 2006). Nectar appears to be an important dietary constituent and bats have been observed feeding on kapok flowers (Andriafidison et al. 2006).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The extent to which the destruction and degradation of natural forest threatens this species is poorly understood. Although Goodman et al. (2005) suggested that R. madagascariensis is not dependent on relatively intact forest there are insufficient data on its annual dietary requirements to decide this matter. It is clear, however, that some of the roosting colonies are located some distance from intact forest and additional study is therefore needed on the mobility of this species. The main threats to R. madagascariensis are to its roosts where it is subject to hunting pressure (Jenkins et al. 2007; Rakotonandrasana and Goodman 2007; Jenkins and Racey in press) in virtually all sites that are not inside protected areas (Goodman et al. 2005) or considered sacred (Rakotoarivelo and Randrianandriananina 2007). It appears to be hunted exclusively for subsistence and bats are harvested using locally made traps as well as being knocked down from the cave ceiling with wooden batons (Rakotonandrasana and Goodman 2007). On Ile Sainte Marie the reported offtake was between 360 and 480 bats per year (Rakotonandrasana and Goodman 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: As a game species under Malagasy law (Durbin 2007), R. madagascariensis is only protected when it occurs in nature reserves. In a survey of western Madagascar it was found in six protected areas: Réserve Spéciale d’Ankarana, Réserve Spéciale d’Analamerana, Parc National d’Ankarafantsika, Parc National de Namoroka, Parc National du Tsingy de Bemaraha and Parc National d’Isalo (Goodman et al. 2005). Roosts within existing protected areas need to receive close attention from park staff to discourage hunting. Other roosts need to be conserved and this might be best achieved through their inclusion within new protected areas and with the cooperation of local communities.

Citation: Andriafidison, D., Cardiff, S.G., Goodman, S.M., Hutson, A.M., Jenkins, R.K.B., Kofoky, A.F., Racey, P.A., Ranivo, J., Ratrimomanarivo, F.H. & Razafimanahaka, H.J. 2008. Rousettus madagascariensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 July 2014.
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