Rousettus madagascariensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Rousettus madagascariensis 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)
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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

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 occurrence:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):950
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).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

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).

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.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.3. Sub-national level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level
6. Livelihood, economic & other incentives -> 6.1. Linked enterprises & livelihood alternatives

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Andriafidison, D., Andrianaivoarivelo, R. A. and Jenkins, R. K. B. 2006. Records of tree roosting bats from western Madagascar. African Bat Conservation News 8: 5-6.

Andrianaivoarivelo, R. A., Ramilijaona, O. and Andriafidison, D. 2007. Rousettus madagascariensis Grandidier 1929 feeding on Dimnocarpus longan in Madagascar. African Bat Conservation News 11: 3-4.

Durbin, J. 2007. New legislation for the protection of Malagasy species. Lemur News 11: 4-6.

Goodman, S. M. 1999. Notes on the Bats of the Réserve Intégrale d'Andohahela and Surrounding Areas of Southeastern Madagascar. Fieldiana: Zoology 94: 251-257.

Goodman, S.M., Andriafidison, D., Andrianaivoarivelo, R., Cardiff, S.G., Ifticene, E., Jenkins, R.K.B., Kofoky, A., Mbohoahy, T., Rakotondravony, D., Ranivo, J., Ratrimomanarivo, F., Razafimanahaka, J. and Racey, P.A. 2005. The distribution and conservation of bats in the dry regions of Madagascar. Animal Conservation 8: 153-165.

Hutcheon, J. M. 2003. Frugivory by Malagasy bats. In: S. M. Goodman and J. P. Benstead (eds), The Natural History of Madagascar, pp. 1205-1207. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Jenkins, R.K.B. and Racey, P.A. 2008. Bats as bushmeat in Madagascar. Madagascar Conservation and Development 3(1): 22-30.

Jenkins, R. K. B., Kofoky, A. F, Russ, J. M.Friafidison, A., Siemers, B. M., Randrianandrianina, F. H., Mbohoahy, T., Rahaingodrahety, V. N and Racey, P. A. 2007. Ecology of Bats in the southern Anosy Region. In: J. U. Ganzhorn, S. M. Goodman, and M. Vincelette (eds), Biodiversity, ecology and conservation of littoral ecosystems in southeastern Madagascar, Tolagnaro (Fort Dauphin), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.

Kofoky, A.F., Andriafidison, D., Ratrimomanarivo, F.H., Razafimanahaka, H.J., Rakotondravony, D., Racey, P.A. and Jenkins, R.K.B. 2007. Habitat use, roost selection and conservation of bats in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation 16: 1039-1053.

MacKinnon, J., Hawkins, C. E. and Racey, P. A. 2003. Pteropodidae. In: S. M. Goodman and J. P. Benstead (eds), The Natural History of Madagascar, pp. 1299–1302. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA and London, UK.

Rakotoarivelo, A. R. and Randrianandriananina, F. H. 2007. A chiropteran survey of the Lac Kinkony-Mahavavy area in western Madagascar. African Bat Conservation News 12: 2-4.

Rakotonandrasana, E. N. and Goodman, S. M. 2007. Bat inventories of the Madagascar offshore islands of Nosy Be, Nosy Komba and Ile Sainte Marie. African Bat Conservation News 12: 6-10.

Randrianandrianina, F. H., Andriafidison, D., Kofoky, A. F., Ramilijaona, O. R., Ratromomanarivo, F. H., Racey, P. A. and Jenkins, R. K. B. 2006. Habitat use and conservation of bats in rainforest and adjacent human-modified habitats in eastern Madagascar. Acta Chiropterologica 8: 429-437.

Razafindrakoto, N. 2006. Etude comparative du regime alimentaire de Pteropus rufus Tiedemann, 1808 et de Rousettus madagascariensis Grandidier, 1928 (Pteropodidae) dans le district de Moramanga. Département de Biologie Animale, Faculté des Sciences, Université d'Antananarivo.

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 2008: e.T19750A9010077. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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