Download Full Text (857 KB)

Publication Date

November 2011


Rousettus aegyptiacus is the only fruit bat occurring in Europe. A dramatic, poorly understood decline was recently reported for the important population occurring on the island of Cyprus (Eastern Mediterranean). Assessing diet in this population is important to tailor appropriate conservation measures and help mitigate conflicts with farming. In this study, we present a first assessment of diet for the Cyprus population, mainly based on the occurrence of fruit remains in droppings. We analyzed 222 droppings (corresponding to 281 food items) collected at two cave roosts over three seasons. We identified 11 plant species from 8 families. Melia azedarach, Morus spp. and Ceratonia siliqua had a frequency of occurrence in diet > 0.1; Eryobotria japonica, Ficus and Arbutus andrachne were of intermediate importance, and the remaining food types were less common. Considerable differences in the occurrence frequencies of food types were detected between sites. Five out of 11 plant species found in the diet are commercially grown on Cyprus for fruit crop, but most were of secondary importance for bats. The occurrence of economically important plants in the diet was quite limited. M. azedarach, important for one of the colonies, is an alien species on Cyprus cultivated as an ornamental plant. Our data may help manage food resources to improve the population’s conservation status, but countering other threats including pesticide use and direct persecution would also be of chief importance.


Chiroptera, Conservation, Diet, Egyptian Fruit Bat, Mediterranean

Document Type



HYSTRIX the Italian Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 22, no. 2 (2011-11-08).





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.