Lesser bare-backed bats (Dobsonia minor [Pteropodidae]) are solitary and roost in foliage of understory and subcanopy trees in lowland rain forest. These 70–90 gram frugivorous bats forage in primary and secondary forest and in abandoned gardens. At the Kau Wildlife Area in Papua New Guinea, movements (N = 1041) of four males and four females fitted with radio transmitters were monitored for 1 to 18 months. Mean home range within 30-day sampling periods was 5.1 ha (N = 12). There were no significant differences in home ranges by sex or by dry–wet season. Females, however, had significantly larger mean core-use areas than males (1.43 ± 0.61 and 0.65 ± 0.16 ha, respectively). There was moderate overlap in home range and core-use areas among some simultaneously tracked animals. The long axes of home ranges varied from 150 to 1150 m and the mean was significantly larger in females. Individuals commuted from day roosts to multiple feeding areas, sometimes resulting in disjunct core-use areas and home ranges. Fruits of native Ficus species and the exotic shrub Piper aduncum were staple food items. Piper aduncum grew as dense clusters within early successional habitats, and individual plants ripened 5–20 fruits per night throughout the year. Ficus spp. grew in primary and secondary forest and fruited asynchronously, but individual trees produced tens to thousands of ripe fruits over 7 to 10 days. Three adult female D. minor were tracked over multiple periods spanning 2.5–18 months. Although each female continued to visit a core-use area containing P. aduncum throughout the study, turnover of other core-use areas reflected the ephemeral locations of fruiting fig trees.
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Vol. 34 • No. 1