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Animals 2011, 1(3), 259-290; doi:10.3390/ani1030259

Bats of the Western Indian Ocean Islands

Department of Zoology, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Received: 23 July 2011 / Revised: 10 August 2011 / Accepted: 12 August 2011 / Published: 16 August 2011
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Simple Summary: The purpose of this paper is to review the literature pertaining to the bat faunas of the western Indian Ocean islands, particularly in light of the identification of many new species on Madagascar and the taxonomic reassignment of others, and to summarise details of their general biology, feeding ecology, reproduction and conservation.


The natural colonisation of many remote oceanic islands by bats, including those of the western Indian Ocean, has been facilitated by their unique capability among mammals for powered flight. In the western Indian Ocean region, only the Malagasy islands of Madagascar and the Comoros archipelago have been naturally colonised by non-volant mammals. Despite their greater potential for inter-island dispersal, and thus gene transfer, endemicity of Chiroptera in the western Indian Ocean islands is high. Given their vulnerability to stochastic and anthropogenic disturbances, greater focus needs to be placed on investigating the demographic and ecological history of bats on Western Indian Ocean islands to safeguard not only their future, but also the ecosystem functioning on these islands, for which they are undoubtedly such an integral part. Here, I summarise the taxonomic and life history information available on bats from Western Indian Ocean islands and highlight knowledge gaps and conservation issues that threaten the continued persistence of some species.
Keywords: Chiroptera; Western Indian Ocean; fruit bats; ecology; conservation Chiroptera; Western Indian Ocean; fruit bats; ecology; conservation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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O’Brien, J. Bats of the Western Indian Ocean Islands. Animals 2011, 1, 259-290.

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