Fruit bats as natural foragers and potential pollinators in fruit orchard: a reproductive phenological study
Family Pteropodidae could consume either fruit or flower parts to sustain their energy requirement. In some species of fruit bats, population growth is sometimes dependent on the food availability and in return bats could be pollinators of certain species of plants. In this study, 152 female bats captured from the Manilkara zapota orchard of the University of Southern Mindanao were examined for their reproductive stages. Lactation of fruit bat species Ptenochirus jagori and Ptenochirus minor were positively correlated with the fruiting of M. zapota. While the lactation of Cynopterus brachyotis, Eonycteris spelaea and Rousettus amplexicaudatus were positively associated with the flowering of M. zapota. Together, thirty M. zapota trees were observed for their generative stage (fruiting or flowering) in 6 months. Based on the canonical correspondence analysis, only P. jagori was considered as the natural forager as its lactating stage coincides with the fruiting peaks and only C. brachyotis and E. spelaea were the potential pollinators since its lactating stage coincides with the flowering peaks of M. zapota tree. The method in this study can be used to identify potential pollinators and foragers in other fruit trees.