Cave nectar bat

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Cave nectar bat
Eonycteris spelaea
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Pteropodidae
Subfamily: Rousettinae
Tribe: Eonycterini
Genus: Eonycteris
E. spelaea
Binomial name
Eonycteris spelaea
(Dobson, 1871)
Cave Nectar Bat area.png
Cave nectar bat range
  • Eonycteris bernsteini Tate, 1942
  • Macroglossus spelaeus Dobson, 1871

The cave nectar bat, dawn bat, common dawn bat, common nectar bat or lesser dawn bat (Eonycteris spelaea)[1] is a species of megabat within the genus Eonycteris. The scientific name of the species was first published by Dobson in 1871.


The upper parts of the cave nectar bat are grey-brown to dark brown to black. The underparts are paler and the neck is sometimes yellowish brown. The muzzle of this bat is elongated, and particularly adapted for drinking nectar. The species has as well an external tail. The head and body length measures 8.5–11 cm (3.3–4.3 in), the tail length is about 1.5–1.8 cm (0.59–0.71 in) and the forearm length measures 6–7 cm (2.4–2.8 in)[2]

Habits and habitat[edit]

The cave nectar bat is found in primary forests and in disturbed and agricultural areas. It roosts in caves, in larger groups, with some roosts exceeding 50,000 individuals, and it sometimes roosts with other bat species. In some places, this species seems to have adapted well to leafy, semi-urban habitats. Due to its large roosting size it has an IUCN status of "least concerned" however, only limited data is available on population size and trends. E. spelaea travels many kilometres each night in search of the nectar of flowering trees and shrubs. Because of that, this bat species is a very important pollinator of fruit trees, such as durians,[2] notably Durio zibethinus and Durio graveolens.[3][4][5] It also feeds on and pollinates other commercially important crops such as banana (Musa spp.) and jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus).[6] In addition to pollinating these plants, the cave nectar bat is an important pollinator for major crops, including up to 55 species of plants. Their tendencies to pollinate certain plants is determined by the proximity of their living quarters. There are at least thirteen plant taxa that the cave nectar bat feeds upon. The dependence on the proximity of the plants explain the variation of which plants that the cave nectar bats pollinate and feed upon.[7] For this reason, E. spelaea is seen as an important species for pollination in disturbed areas bordering on urban and agricultural farms.


E. spelaea lives in Bangladesh,[8] Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia (Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sulawesi and some other small islands), Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, India and Timor-Leste.[2] It had been previously recorded from Gomantong Caves, Sukau, Segama, and Madai in Sabah; Niah, Sungai Tinjar, and Kuching in Sarawak; and Sungai Tengah and Kutai in Kalimantan.[9][10][11][12]


This species is killed for bushmeat in Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines.[13]


The genome of Eonycteris spelaea was recently sequenced using PacBio long-read sequencing.[14] As a small, frugivorous, specialist nectar-feeding bat with good flight potential and that can breed 1-2 times a year,[15] it is an ideal species as an animal model for bats. Recent evidence has shown this species can carry multiple viruses such as filoviruses,[16][17] coronaviruses,[18] astrovirus,[19] picornavirus,[20] lyssavirus,[21] pteropine orthoreovirus[22] and flavivirus,[23] all without obvious signs of disease.


  1. ^ a b c Waldien, D.L.; Adleson, S.; Wilson, Z. (2020). "Eonycteris spelaea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T7787A22128326. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T7787A22128326.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Shepherd, Chris R.; Shepherd, Loretta Ann (2012). A Naturalist's Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia. Wiltshire, UK: John Beaufoy Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-906780-71-5.
  3. ^ Soepadmo, Engkik; Eow, BK (31 August 1977). Mabberley, DJ; Lan, Chang Kiaw (eds.). "The Reproductive Biology of Durio zibethinus Murr" (pdf). The Gardens' Bulletin, Singapore. 29: 25–33. ISSN 2382-5812. OCLC 918436212. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
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  5. ^ Brown, Michael J. (1997). Arora, R.K.; Ramanatha Rao, V.; Rao, A.N. (eds.). Durio, a Bibliographic Review (PDF). New Delhi, India: International Plant Genetic Resource Institute. p. 13. ISBN 9789290433187. OCLC 38754437. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  6. ^ Lim, Voon-Ching; Ramli, Rosli; Bhassu, Subha; Wilson, John-James (2018-03-26). "Pollination implications of the diverse diet of tropical nectar-feeding bats roosting in an urban cave". PeerJ. 6: e4572. doi:10.7717/peerj.4572. ISSN 2167-8359. PMC 5875395. PMID 29607265.
  7. ^ Thavry, H.; Cappelle, J.; Bumrungsri, S.; Thona, L.; Furey, N. M. (2017). "The diet of the cave nectar bat (Eonycteris spelaea, Dobson) suggests it pollinates economically and ecologically significant plants in Southern Cambodia". Zoological Studies. 56 (56): e17. doi:10.6620/ZS.2017.56-17. PMC 6517731. PMID 31966216.
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  9. ^ J. Payne; C. M. Francis; K. Phillipps (1985). A field guide to the mammals of Borneo. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah: The Sabah Society. ISBN 978-967-99947-1-1.
  10. ^ Ghanem, Simon J.; Voigt, Christian C. (2012), "Increasing Awareness of Ecosystem Services Provided by Bats", Advances in the Study of Behavior, Elsevier, pp. 279–302, doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-394288-3.00007-1, ISBN 9780123942883
  11. ^ SHAO, W. W.; HUA, P. Y.; ZHOU, S. Y.; ZHANG, S. Y.; CHEN, J. P. (May 2008). "Characterization of microsatellite loci in the lesser dawn bat (Eonycteris spelaea)". Molecular Ecology Resources. 8 (3): 695–697. doi:10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.02051.x. ISSN 1755-098X. PMID 21585874. S2CID 10081806.
  12. ^ Esselstyn, Jacob A. (2010-02-23). "At Long Last, an Authoritative Guide to the Mammals of Indochina". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 17 (3): 215–216. doi:10.1007/s10914-010-9132-z. ISSN 1064-7554. S2CID 37160888.
  13. ^ Mickleburgh, S.; Waylen, K.; Racey, P. (2009). "Bats as bushmeat: a global review". Oryx. 43 (2): 217–234. doi:10.1017/s0030605308000938.
  14. ^ Wen, Ming; Ng, Justin H J; Zhu, Feng; Chionh, Yok Teng; Chia, Wan Ni; Mendenhall, Ian H; Lee, Benjamin PY-H; Irving, Aaron T; Wang, Lin-Fa (2018-10-01). "Exploring the genome and transcriptome of the cave nectar bat Eonycteris spelaea with PacBio long-read sequencing". GigaScience. 7 (10). doi:10.1093/gigascience/giy116. ISSN 2047-217X. PMC 6177735. PMID 30247613.
  15. ^ Nowak, Ronald M. (1999). Walker's mammals of the world. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801857899. OCLC 444327317.
  16. ^ Laing, Eric D.; Mendenhall, Ian H.; Linster, Martin; Low, Dolyce H. W.; Chen, Yihui; Yan, Lianying; Sterling, Spencer L.; Borthwick, Sophie; Neves, Erica Sena (January 2018). "Serologic Evidence of Fruit Bat Exposure to Filoviruses, Singapore, 2011–2016". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 24 (1): 114–117. doi:10.3201/eid2401.170401. ISSN 1080-6040. PMC 5749470. PMID 29260678.
  17. ^ Yang, Xing-Lou; Zhang, Yun-Zhi; Jiang, Ren-Di; Guo, Hua; Zhang, Wei; Li, Bei; Wang, Ning; Wang, Li; Waruhiu, Cecilia (March 2017). "Genetically Diverse Filoviruses in Rousettus and Eonycteris spp. Bats, China, 2009 and 2015". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 23 (3): 482–486. doi:10.3201/eid2302.161119. ISSN 1080-6040. PMC 5382765. PMID 28221123.
  18. ^ Mendenhall, I. H.; Borthwick, S.; Neves, E. S.; Low, D.; Linster, M.; Liang, B.; Skiles, M.; Jayakumar, J.; Han, H. (2016-09-16). "Identification of a Lineage D Betacoronavirus in Cave Nectar Bats (Eonycteris spelaea) in Singapore and an Overview of Lineage D Reservoir Ecology in SE Asian Bats". Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 64 (6): 1790–1800. doi:10.1111/tbed.12568. ISSN 1865-1674. PMC 7159162. PMID 27637887.
  19. ^ Mendenhall, Ian H.; Skiles, Maggie M.; Neves, Erica Sena; Borthwick, Sophie A.; Low, Dolyce H.W.; Liang, Benjamin; Lee, Benjamin P.Y.-H.; Su, Yvonne C.F.; Smith, Gavin J.D. (December 2017). "Influence of age and body condition on astrovirus infection of bats in Singapore: An evolutionary and epidemiological analysis". One Health. 4: 27–33. doi:10.1016/j.onehlt.2017.10.001. ISSN 2352-7714. PMC 5678831. PMID 29159263.
  20. ^ Kapoor, A.; Simmonds, P.; Lipkin, W. I.; Zaidi, S.; Delwart, E. (2010-07-28). "Use of Nucleotide Composition Analysis To Infer Hosts for Three Novel Picorna-Like Viruses". Journal of Virology. 84 (19): 10322–10328. doi:10.1128/jvi.00601-10. ISSN 0022-538X. PMC 2937767. PMID 20668077.
  21. ^ Lumlertdacha, Boonlert; Boongird, Kalyanee; Wanghongsa, Sawai; Wacharapluesadee, Supaporn; Chanhome, Lawan; Khawplod, Pkamatz; Hemachudha, Thiravat; Kuzmin, Ivan; Rupprecht, Charles E. (February 2005). "Survey for Bat Lyssaviruses, Thailand". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 11 (2): 232–236. doi:10.3201/eid1102.040691. ISSN 1080-6040. PMC 3320458. PMID 15752440.
  22. ^ Taniguchi, Satoshi; Maeda, Ken; Horimoto, Taisuke; Masangkay, Joseph S.; Puentespina, Roberto; Alvarez, James; Eres, Eduardo; Cosico, Edison; Nagata, Noriyo (2017-02-11). "First isolation and characterization of pteropine orthoreoviruses in fruit bats in the Philippines". Archives of Virology. 162 (6): 1529–1539. doi:10.1007/s00705-017-3251-2. ISSN 0304-8608. PMID 28190201. S2CID 26357185.
  23. ^ Varelas-Wesley, Irene; Calisher, Charles H. (1982-11-01). "Antigenic Relationships of Flaviviruses with Undetermined Arthropod-Borne Status *". The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 31 (6): 1273–1284. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.1982.31.1273. ISSN 0002-9637. PMID 6293325.