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BATS Magazine

VOLUME 8, NO. 3 Fall 1990


Dawn bats (Eonycteris spelaea) are important pollinators for Southeast Asia's durian crop. The showy white flowers exude a heady odor, attracting bat visitors of several species. Durian flowers open by dusk and begin falling to the ground before midnight. The trees produce a delectable fruit, known by those who have tasted it as the "king of fruit." The great natural historian, Alfred Russell Wallace, once wrote that it was worth a trip to Southeast Asia just to experience this fruit.
Durian is so prized that ancient Burmese kings commanded a fleet of runners, who had to travel on foot over 300 kilometers, to keep them supplied with fresh fruit. And headhunters in Borneo are reputed to have committed murder over it! Today, the market price for a single fruit can be as high as $7.00 (U.S) or more in Singapore. Throughout Southeast Asia, the durian crop adds as much as $120 million to the economy each year.

Yet the bats that ensure the durian flowers will produce this famous fruit are in decline in many areas and are not protected by local laws. Recent drops in durian production in some areas may be linked to decline of the bats. Photo by Merlin D. Tuttle

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All articles in this issue:
Giving Flying Foxes a Second Chance
Return to Thailand
The Case for Bat Conservation
After the Hurricane
Making a Difference
Bat Exhibit Popular with Visitors
BCI Members Win Conservation Awards
First One-Day Bat Study Workshop A Success
Annual Report Available to Members
Gifts That Keep On Giving: How Your Gifts Help BCI
Tell A Friend
A different kind of treasure

Unless otherwise noted, all images are copyright ©Merlin D. Tuttle and/or ©Bat Conservation International