Lek-associated movement of a putative Ebolavirus reservoir, the hammer-headed fruit bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus), in northern Republic of Congo

Autoři: Sarah H. Olson aff001;  Gerard Bounga aff002;  Alain Ondzie aff002;  Trent Bushmaker aff003;  Stephanie N. Seifert aff003;  Eeva Kuisma aff002;  Dylan W. Taylor aff001;  Vincent J. Munster aff003;  Chris Walzer aff001
Působiště autorů: Wildlife Conservation Society, Health Program, Bronx, New York, United States of America aff001;  Wildlife Conservation Society, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo aff002;  Virus Ecology Section, Laboratory of Virology, Division of Intramural Research, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana, United States of America aff003;  Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223139


The biology and ecology of Africa’s largest fruit bat remains largely understudied and enigmatic despite at least two highly unusual attributes. The acoustic lek mating behavior of the hammer-headed bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus) in the Congo basin was first described in the 1970s. More recently molecular testing implicated this species and other African bats as potential reservoir hosts for Ebola virus and it was one of only two fruit bat species epidemiologically linked to the 2008 Luebo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola outbreak. Here we share findings from the first pilot study of hammer-headed bat movement using GPS tracking and accelerometry units and a small preceding radio-tracking trial at an apparent lekking site. The radio-tracking revealed adult males had high rates of nightly visitation to the site compared to females (only one visit) and that two of six females day-roosted ~100 m west of Libonga, the nearest village that is ~1.6 km southwest. Four months later, in mid-April 2018, five individual bats, comprised of four males and one female, were tracked from two to 306 days, collecting from 67 to 1022 GPS locations. As measured by mean distance to the site and proportion of nightly GPS locations within 1 km of the site (percent visitation), the males were much more closely associated with the site (mean distance 1.4 km; 51% visitation), than the female (mean 5.5 km; 2.2% visitation). Despite the small sample size, our tracking evidence supports our original characterization of the site as a lek, and the lek itself is much more central to male than female movement. Moreover, our pilot demonstrates the technical feasibility of executing future studies on hammer-headed bats that will help fill problematic knowledge gaps about zoonotic spillover risks and the conservation needs of fruit bats across the continent.

Klíčová slova:

Africa – Animal behavior – Data acquisition – Mating behavior – Bats – Fruit bats – Bat flight – Ebola virus


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2019 Číslo 10
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