Rousettus aegyptiacus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Rousettus aegyptiacus (E. Geoffroy, 1810)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Egyptian Fruit Bat, 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: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-20
Assessor(s): Korine, C.
Reviewer(s): Mildenstein, T.
Contributor(s): Benda, P., Aulagnier, S., Hutson, A.M., Amr, Z.S.S., Kock, D., Sharifi, M., Karataş, A., Mickleburgh, S., Bergmans, W. & Howell, K.
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. However, in Cyprus where it is considered as a rare species.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Distributed across sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa; also ranges outside of Africa through the Middleeast up to Turkey and 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 -216 (Dead Sea, Korine, C. pers. comm.) to 4,000 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Angola; Burundi; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Cyprus; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea (Bioko); 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 (Principe, Sâo Tomé); Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Spain (Canary Is.); Sudan; Swaziland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Turkey; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):4000
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 (caves with colonues up to 25,000 individuals and in 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).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

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 and was obsereved feeding on flying insects. 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, underground parkings and open wells. Often roosts with other bat species. Possible altitudinal migration in parts of its range (e.g., Lebanon and Israel).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunted for food in some cave systems in Africa.

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 such asthe genera Rhinolophus and Myotis. In Israel, the fumigation action stopped completley in 1984, however it is still considreded is a pest.

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 such as in Cyprus. There is a need to enforce measures to protect this species, especially to prevent the fumigation of caves.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
1. Forest -> 1.8. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Swamp
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.2. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Other Subterranean Habitats
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens

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

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

Benda, P., Vallo, P., Hulva, P. and Horáček, I. 2012. The Egyptian fruit bat Rousettus aegyptiacus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in the Palaearctic: geographical variation and taxonomic status. Biologia 67(6): 1230-1244.

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

Hadjisterkotis, E. 2006. The destruction and conservation of the Egyptian Fruit bat Rousettus aegyptiacus in Cyprus: a historic review. European Journal of Wildlife Research 52(4): 282-287.

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

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Korine, C., Izhaki, I. and Arad, Z. 1999. Is the Egyptian fruit-bat Rousettus aegyptiacus a pest in Israel? An analysis of the bat's diet and implications for its conservation. Biological Conservation 88(3): 301-306.

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: Korine, C. 2016. Rousettus aegyptiacus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T29730A22043105. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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