Rousettus aegyptiacus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Rousettus aegyptiacus
Species Authority: (E. Geoffroy, 1810)
Common Name(s):
English Egyptian Fruit Bat, Egyptian Rousette, EGYPTIAN ROUSETTE
Rousettus egyptiacus (É. Geoffroy, 1810)
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomic relationship with R. leschenaultii requires further review.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Benda, P., Aulagnier, S., Hutson, A.M., Amr, Z.S., Kock, D., Sharifi, M., Karataş, A., Mickleburgh, S., Bergmans, W. & Howell, K.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is broadly distributed and abundant, and is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category, hence is listed as Least Concern.
2004 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Patchily distributed across sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa; also ranges outside of Africa through south-west Asia to Iran and Pakistan; also on Cyprus.

In the Western Palaearctic it occurs as two forms: R. a. arabicus (Iran, southern Arabia, Pakistan), R. a. aegyptiacus (rest of range). In sub-Saharan Africa occurs as four forms: subspecies leachi is found in SW Ethiopia, S Sudan, E and S DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and the extreme E and south of South Africa, including Swaziland and Lesotho; subspecies princeps is endemic to Principe Island in the Gulf of Guinea; subspecies tomensis is endemic to Sao Tome; and subspecies unicolor is found from Senegal and the Gambia east to Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, south to northern central Nigeria and W Cameroon and Bioko Island, then south from Gabon and Congo to western DRC and W Angola.

Elevational range: from sea level to 4,000 m asl.
Angola (Angola); Burundi; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Cyprus; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mozambique; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Rwanda; Sao Tomé and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Turkey; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Common in parts of Africa; generally uncommon in SW Asia although locally abundant in Israel and Jordan (Z. Amr pers. comm. 2005).

In Africa it occurs in large colonies of up to 40,000 to 50,000 individuals. In SW Asia colonies generally number 50 to 500 individuals, although up to 3,000 individuals were recorded in a cave in Jordan. The population in Turkey is estimated at 5,000 to 10,000 individuals; the population there may be decreasing due to control measures in caves (A. Karatas pers. comm. 2007). In Syria only a single locality is known of 1,000 to 2,000 animals (A. Karatas pers. comm. 2007).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in arid to moist tropical and subtropical biomes. Has broad habitat tolerance, so long as abundant food and appropriate roosting sites are available. Feeds on soft fruits (date, carob, mulberry, azedarach, fig, apricot, peach and apple), flowers, occasionally takes leaves. Often forages in orchards. Roosts: a strictly cavernicolous species, roosting in moist natural caverns and artificial structures including underground irrigation tunnels (ghanats), ruins, tombs, mines, military bunkers and open wells. Often roosts with other bat species. Possible altitudinal migration in parts of its range (e.g., Lebanon).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species faces a number of threats, but none of them are considered a serious threat to the species at the global level. Hunted for food in some cave systems in Africa. Cave disturbance and persecution are also a problem in parts of the range. The species is considered as a pest by fruit farmers and consequently cave roosts have been fumigated and destroyed in Israel, Turkey and Cyprus, resulting in incidental killing of many insectivorous bats of the genera Rhinolophus and Myotis. The Israeli Nature Conservation Society is trying to prevent this lethal control (D. Kock pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: International legal obligations for protection through the Bonn Convention (Eurobats) in areas where this applies. Included in Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive in areas where this applies. Occurs in a number of protected areas. There is a need to enforce measures to protect this species, especially to prevent the fumigation of caves.

Bibliography [top]

Bergmans, W. 1994. Taxonomy and biogeography of African fruit bats (Mammalia, Megachiroptera). 4. The genus Rousettus Gray, 1821. Beaufortia 44(4): 79-126.

Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK.

Kwiecinski, G. G. and Griffiths, T. A. 1999. Rousettus egyptiacus. Mammalian Species 611: 1-9.

Simmons, N. B. 2005. Order Chiroptera. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 312-529. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Benda, P., Aulagnier, S., Hutson, A.M., Amr, Z.S., Kock, D., Sharifi, M., Karataş, A., Mickleburgh, S., Bergmans, W. & Howell, K. 2008. Rousettus aegyptiacus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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