Salim Ali's fruit bat (Latidens salmalii)

Salim Ali's fruit bat
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Salim Ali's fruit bat fact file

Salim Ali's fruit bat description

GenusLatidens (1)

Salim Ali's fruit bat is one of the world's rarest bats (3) and is the only species in the genus Latidens. It is a medium-sized fruit bat, which lacks an external tail. The head is covered in blackish-brown fur which is paler at the base, the wing membrane and the long fur are light brown in colour, and the underparts are light grey-brown. The species was first collected in 1948 by a British naturalist called Angus Hutton, who mis-identified the specimen as the common short-nosed fruit bat. The specimen was re-examined later by Kitty Thonglongya who recognised it as a new species and named it in honour of the famous Indian ornithologist, Salim Ali in 1972 (4).

Forearm length: 67.5 mm (2)

Salim Ali's fruit bat biology

Very little is known of the ecology of this species, however all fruit bats play an extremely important role as pollinators and seed dispersal agents within their rainforest habitat (5).


Salim Ali's fruit bat range

It was first described from a single specimen collected at an altitude of 750 meters in the Western Ghats rainforest of the High Wavy Mountains, South India (2).


Salim Ali's fruit bat habitat

Inhabits remnant patches of the Western Ghats rainforest (5).


Salim Ali's fruit bat status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR - B1+2c, D) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1).


Salim Ali's fruit bat threats

Under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act all species of fruit bat are classified as pests and it is therefore legal to persecute them outside of protected reserves (5). Fruit bats are perceived as pests simply because they visit orchards, although they actually tend to feed on over-ripe fruit and do not pose a threat (3) (4) (6).


Salim Ali's fruit bat conservation

In 1999 and 2000, research into the population status, distribution and conservation of this species was carried out by Dr G. Agoramoorthy of the SMGM Foundation (India) and Sun Yat-Sen University (Taiwan) (4). Forty-six individuals were captured during the study, most of which were located in a private coffee cardamon plantation. The results of this study are to be used to identify new conservation areas in the Western Ghats. During the study, public awareness of Salim Ali's fruit bat was raised through a number of initiatives including the production of a book called 'Facts on Bats: An Introduction to the Bats of Tamilnadu State' and the local field assistants were given training on fruit bats (5) (4). The Chiropterological Society of India was recently formed to increase communication and coordination of the effort to save India's bats (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact Dr Agoramoorthy at:



Authenticated (8/5/02) by Dr G. Agoramoorthy



  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2002)
  2. Nowak, R.M. Walker's Mammals of The World. Online 5.1.
  3. Bat Conservation International (February, 2002)
  4. Agoramoorthy, G. & Hsu, M.J. (2001) Facts on Bats: An Introduction to the Bats of Tamilnadu.
  5. Netherlands Committee for the IUCN (February, 2002)
  6. Agoramoorthy, G. & Hsu, M.J. (2002) Current Science82: 244 - 245.

Image credit

Salim Ali's fruit bat  
Salim Ali's fruit bat

© G. Agoramoorthy

Dr G. Agoramoorthy


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