Effect of heat wave on the Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) population from Purulia District of West Bengal, India

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Somenath Dey
Utpal Singha Roy
Sanjib Chattopadhyay


The present study was undertaken to examine the effect of heat wave on the behavior and population count of Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus from a roosting colony occupying a Tamarind tree Tamarindus indica at Simla Village of Purulia District of West Bengal, India during the period from March 2010 to July 2010.  A total population comprising 250 individuals, recorded in March 2010, came down to 80 by June 2010.  Information obtained from local villagers affirmed that the roosting bat colony from the present study location was a century old and had no apparent conflicts with villagers; moreover, it was protected with reverence.  However, soaring day temperatures (with a maximum of up to 480C, recorded during May and June 2010) alongside drought were the major threats that the population faced and mass die-offs caused the population to decline during the hotter months.  Continuous fanning and belly-soaking were common behavioural features recorded during the summer months.  However, death rate due to hyperthermia and dehydration was uncommonly high.


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