Any of numerous tropical Old World bats in the family Pteropodidae as well as several species of herbivorous New World bats. Old World fruit bats are widely distributed from Africa to South Asia and Australasia. Most species rely on vision rather than on echolocation to avoid obstacles. Some species are solitary, some gregarious; most roost in the open in trees, though some inhabit caves, rocks, or buildings. Some are red or yellow, and some are striped or spotted. They eat fruit or flowers (including pollen and nectar). The smallest species in the family, the long-tongued fruit bats, reach a head and body length of about 2.5 in. (6–7 cm) and a wingspan of about 10 in. (25 cm). The same family contains the largest of all bats, the flying foxes, which attain lengths up to 16 in. (40 cm) and a wingspan of 5 ft (1.5 m). New World fruit bats are generally smaller and make use of echolocation. They are found in the tropics, with many species belonging to the genera Artibeus and Sturnira.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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