Episode IV - A New Hope


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Vertebrates (pdf)

First record of the estuarine goby Eutaeniichthys gilli Jordan & Snyder, in Hong Kong
Macaques as seed predators and dispersal agents in Hong Kong
Piranha = man-eating fish?
Bat Pollination in the Climber Mucuna birdwoodiana
Rattus sikkimensis occupies bird nest box on Kau Sai Chau

Bat Pollination in the Climber Mucuna birdwoodiana

by Michael Lau

On 4 and 5 April, 2003, I saw several Leschenaultís Rousette Bats, Rousettus leschenaulti, visiting the flowers of Mucana birdwoodiana in a forest near Sheung Yeung Village in Clear Water Bay and this is probably the first local record of bat pollination of this climber. The large number of robust, drab but pungent flowers in long pendant racemes produced by this plant seem to be specially adapted to attract fruit bats. Plants of the genus Mucuna occur in tropical America, Africa, Asia and Australia and they are considered to be bat pollinated (Dobat & Peikert-Holle, 1985). Those in the neotropics are pollinated by glossophagine bats and they have raised, concave, vexilla which reflect the echolocation of the bats and make them especially conspicuous to the pollinators (von Helversen & von Helversen, 1999). The Old World Megachiropteran fruit bats lack such an advanced echolocating system. The vexilla of the flowers of M. birdwoodiana are, as expected, not raised.

Mucuna birdwoodiana's flowers


Dobat, K. & Peikert-Holle, T. (1985). Bluten und Fledermause. Kramer, Frankfurt.

Von Helversen, D. & von Helversen, O. (1999). Acoustic guide in bat-pollinated flower. Nature 398: 759-760.



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