Roosting habits and habitats of the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus medius Temminck, 1825 in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu, India

Main Article Content

M. Pandian
S. Suresh


This paper pertains to the study on roosting habits and habitats of the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus medius Temminck, 1825 in 12 villages of four northern districts—Vellore, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai, and Viluppuram—of Tamil Nadu. Studies targeted roosting tree species, population status, diurnal-roosting behaviour, interactions with other animals, and probable threats to the species. A total of 22,365 individuals of the species were observed in 72 roosting colonies in 72 trees belonging to nine families, 11 genera, and 13 species. The tree species that harbored the greatest population of P. medius (n= 12,465) were those of Tamarindus indica L. (Fabaceae) (n= 39), followed by Ficus religiosa L. (Moraceae) (n= 3,960), Madhuca latifolia J.F. Macbr. (Sapotaceae) (n= 2,760), and Ficus benghalensis L. (Moraceae) (n= 1,620). One-Way ANOVA revealed that a significant relationship exists between  colony size and tree diameter at breast height (dbh), and their canopy size (p <0.05). However, no significant difference occurred between the colony size and tree height. The time taken for emergence of individuals of the colony from the canopy for foraging varied between 20 and 40 min after 1750 h in the evening. The species mostly roosted on trees proximal to human settlements, electrical power lines, and water bodies. Individuals of P. medius used various tree species in different areas in different geographical regions and did not maintain any consistency in roosting tree species selection. A majority of individuals (88.7 %; n= 887) were found roosting using both legs and a minority of P. medius (11.3 %; n= 113) were clinging to tree branches using one. Individuals of P. medius flew to nearby water bodies to quench thirst and cool their bodies. Mating was observed during day roost in 146 pairs including male-female fellatio in seven pairs. Smoke from shrines in sacred groves, pruning of branches for various cultural reasons, populations of House Crow Corvus splendens (Vieillot, 1817) (Corvidae), Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus (Desfontaines, 1789) and Black Kite Milvus migrans (Boddaert, 1783) (both Accipitridae) were key disturbances to roosting populations of P. medius.

Article Details

How to Cite
M. Pandian and S. Suresh 2021. Roosting habits and habitats of the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus medius Temminck, 1825 in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 13, 12 (Oct. 2021), 19675–19688. DOI:


Acharya, P.R. (2008). Status and distribution of Indian Flying Fox in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Bat Net-CCISNA Newsletter 9 (1): 19–20.

Ali, A. (2010). Population trend and conservation status of Indian Flying Fox, Pteropus giganteus (Brunnich, 1872) (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in western Assam. The Ecoscan 4(4): 311–312.

Barlow, K. (1999). Expedition Field Techniques: Bats. Expedition Advisory Centre. Royal Geographical Society, London, 66 pp.

Baskaran, S., A. Rathinakumar, J. Maruthupandian, P. Kaliraj & G. Marimuthu (2016). The effect of daytime rain on the Indian Flying Fox (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Pteropodidae: Pteropus giganteus). Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(2): 8499–8502.

Blozan, W. (2006). Tree measuring guidelines of the eastern native tree society. Bulletin of the East Native Tree Society 1(1): 3–10.

Bates, P.J.J. & D.L. Harrison (1997). Bats of the Indian subcontinent. Harrison Zoological Museum Publications, Sevenoaks, 258 pp.

Chakravarthy, A.K. & H.M. Yeshwanth (2008). Status of roost of Indian Fruit Bat (Pteropus giganteus) in Karnataka, South India. Bat Net-CCISNA Newsletter 9: 16–18.

Dey, S., U.P. Roy & S. Chattopadhyay (2015). Effect of heat wave on the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) population from Purulia district of West Bengal. Journal of Threatened Species 7(3): 7029–7033.

Fenton, M.B. & R.M.R. Barclay (1980). Myotis lucifugus. Mammalian Species 142(1): 1–8.

Fujita, M.S. & M.O. Tuttle (1991). Flying foxes (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae): threatened animals of key ecological and economic importance. Conservation Biology 5(4): 455–463.

Gulraiz, T.L. (2014). Roost characteristics, food and feeding habits of the Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus medius) in Lahore. PhD Thesis, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore.

Helgen, K.M., L.E. Helgen & D.E. Wilson (2009). Pacific flying foxes (Mammalia: Chriroptera): two new species of Pteropus from Samoa, Probably extinct. American Museum Novitates 3646: 1–37.

Jnawali, S.R., H.S. Baral, S. Lee, K.P. Acharya, G.P. Upadhyay, M. Pandey, R. Shrestha, D. Joshi, B.R. Laminchhane, Katuwal, H.B., B. Kushwala & R.C. Quan (2019). Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus if declining in lowland Nepal: Need of conservation action. Journal of Bat Conservation and Research 12 (1): 60–63.

Kerth, G., B. Almasi, N. Ribi, D. Thiel & S. Lupold (2003). Social interactions among wild female Bechstein’s bats (Myotis bechsteinii) living in a maternity colony. Acta Ethologia 5(2): 107–114.

Khan, W., N.N. Nisa, A.R. Khan, B. Rahbar, S.A. Mehmood, S. Ahmed, M. Kamal, M. Shah, A. Rasool & T.H. Kunz (1982). Roosting Ecology. In: Kunz, T.H. (ed.). Ecology of Bats. Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York, 55pp.

Kumar, G. (2010). Report on Cell Tower Radiation, IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai submitted to Secretary, DOT, Delhi, 50 pp. Accessed on 10 February 2021.

Kumar, R. & V. Elangovan (2019). The effect of tree characteristic on roost selection of the Indian Flying Fox, Pteropus giganteus. Bat Research and Conservation 12(1): 100–106.

Kumar, R., D.N. Prasad & V. Elangovan (2017). The effect of seasonal changes on emergence behaviour of the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus. Proceedings of the Zoological Society, Kolkata. Accessed on 10 February 2021.

Manandhar, S., S. Thapa, T.K. Shretha, R. Jyakhwo, W. Wright & A. Aryal (2018). Population status and diurnal behaviours of the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus (Brunnich, 1782) in Kathmandu valley, Nepal. Proceedings of the Zoological Society 71(4): 363–375.

Marimuthu, G. (1996). Nature watch. Resonance 1: 103.

Maruthupandian, J. & G. Marimuthu (2013). Cunnilingus increases duration of copulation in the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus. PLOS One 8(3): e59743.

Mickleburgh, S.P., A.M. Hutson & P.A. Racey (2002). A review of the global conservation status of bats. Oryx 36(1): 18–34.

Mildenstein, T.L., S.C. Stier, C.E. Nuevo-Diego, L.S. Mills & C.N. Diego (2005). Habitat selection of endangered and endemic large flying-fox in Subic Bay, Philippines. Biological Conservation 126(1): 93–103.

Mishra, R., S. Dookia & P. Bhattacharya (2010). Avenue plantations as biodiversity havens: A case study of population status of the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus (Brunnich, 1782) and implication for its conservation in the urban megacity Delhi, India. Proceedings of the Zoological Society 7: 127–136.

Molur, S., C. Srinivasulu, P. Bates & C. Francies (2008). Pteropus giganteus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN RedList of Threatened Species. Version, 2021.2. Accessed on 05 October 2021.

Nicholls, B. & P.A. Racey (2007). Bats avoid radar installations: Could Electromagnetic fields deter Bats from colliding with wind turbines? PLOS ONE 2(3):e 297.

Nowak, R.M. (1999). Walker’s Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1,936 pp

Padmanabhan, P. & K.A. Sujana (2008). Animal products in traditional medicine from Attappady hills of Western Ghats. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 7(2): 326–329.

Pierson, E.D. & W.E. Rainey (1992). The biology of flying foxes of the genus Pteropus: A review. In: Wilson, D.E. & G.L. Graham (ed.). Pacific Island Flying Foxes. Proceedings of an International Conservation Conference, Washington, D.C, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Biological Report 90: 1–17.

Rao, S. & G. Poyyamoli (2017). Roosting, foraging and mating behaviours of Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus) in Rourkela, Odisha. July 22, 2017. Available at SSRN:

Simmons, N.B. & A.L. Cirranello (2020). Bat species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic database. Accessed on 05 October 2021.

Srinivasulu, C., A. Srinivasulu & B. Srinivasulu (2021a). Checklist of the bats of South Asia (v1.5).

Srinivasulu, C., A. Srinivasulu & B. Srinivasulu (2021b). Checklist of the bats of India (v1.2).

Stier, S.C. & T.L. Mildenstein (2005). Dietary habits of the world’s largest bats: the Philippine Flying Foxes, Acerodon jubatus and Pteropus vampyrus lanensis. Journal of Mammalogy 86: 719–728.

Sudhakaran, M.S., D.P. Swamidoss & P. Parvathiraj (2010). Emergence and returning activity in the Indian Flying Fox, Pteropus giganteus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae). International Journal of Geography and Geology 1(1): 1–9.

Tan, M., G. Jones, G. Zhu, J. Je, T. Hong, S. Zhou, S. Zhang & L. Zhang (2009). Fellatio by fruit bats prolonging copulation time. PLOS ONE 4(1): e7595.

Tangavelou, A.C., P.J. Rani & S. Karthikeyan (2013). Conservation of sacred Indian Flying Fox (Bat) at sacred landscape of Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu, India. Asian Journal of Conservation Biology 2(2): 178—180.

Thapa, S.B. (2008). Reporting Pteropus colonies and bat roosts from Eastern Nepal. BatNet-CCISNA Newsletter 9(1): 22–23.

Thomas, D.W. (1988). The distribution of bats in different ages of Douglas-fir forest. Journal of Wildlife Management 52: 619–626.

Tsang, S.M. (2020). Pteropus giganteus. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. e.T18725A22081011. Accessed on 10 February 2021.

Vijayasankar, R., K. Ravikumar & P. Ravichandran (2012). Plant Resources of Tiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu, India. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh Publication, New Delhi, 756 pp.

Vyas, R. & K. Upadhyay (2014). Study of the Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus) colonies of Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat, India: Record of largest roosting congregation at Targol. CCINSA & RISCINSA Newsletter 6(1): 1–6.

Welbergen, J.A., S.M. Klose, N. Markus & P. Eby (2008). Climate changes and effects of temperature extremes on Australian flying foxes. Proceedings of Royal Society B 275: 419–425.

Wilkinson, S.G. (1986). Social grooming in the common Vampire Bat, Desmodua rotundus. Animal Behaviour 34: 1880–1889. (2021). Tamil Nadu Government Portal. Profile of Tamil Nadu. Accessed on 10 February 2021.