An international team of researchers working in Peninsular Malaysia have found that the giant fruit bats known as flying foxes (Pteropus hypomelanus) are actually important pollinators for the durian (Durio zibethinus) tree, which produces a unique fruit that is highly popular throughout Southeast Asia and beyond. As this is the first time such a role has been documented for these highly threatened bats, it’s possible that a decline in their populations could potentially affect fruit production in the commercial durian industries of Southeast Asian countries. Led by SEABCRU member Sheema Abdul Aziz, the study has recently been published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.
Aziz SA, Clements GR, McConkey KR, Sritongchuay T, Pathil S, Yazid MNHA, Campos-Arceiz A, Forget P-M, Bumrungsri, S. 2017. Pollination by the locally endangered island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) enhances fruit production of the economically important durian (Durio zibethinus). Ecol Evol. 2017;00:1–15. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3213
From Tigga: You can read the press release from RIMBA (which has some great photos) here.