Common Name: Trinidadian fruit bat & Jamaican fruit bat
Scientific Names: Artibeus lituratus & Artibeus jamaicensis
Distribution: A. lituratus – Central Mexico to northern Argentina, Lesser Antilles
A. jamaicensis – Central Mexico to Bolivia and central Brazil, throughout Greater and Lesser Antilles.
Artibeus jamaicensis are mainly found in moist, open areas, and can often be found roosting in caves and houses. They have been known to use palm fronds for roosting by chewing around the central stalk, allowing the sides of the leaf to fold downwards into a tent. They are believed to have a harem-like social organization, with each male having between 4 and 11 females and their young in his roost. They breed throughout the year, and generally give birth to a single young, although twins are possible.
Artibeus lituratus can be found in a wide variety of areas, from moist to dry, and forested to open areas. They are believed to be somewhat solitary, but can be found in small groups. Depending on where they are found, their breeding cycles may vary. In Mexico, there is only one breeding season from February to August, whereas in Columbia, breeding takes place year round. They usually produce only a single pup.
Both species are quite small, but they are among the larger species of Artibeus, and their head and body length measure around 3-4 in (87-100 mm), forearm length is around 2 in (64-76 mm), and weight is 1.5-3 oz (44-87 g). Artibeus do not have an external tail, and have a narrow interfemoral membrane. They are grayish-brown in color, with a lighter underside. Artibeus lituratus generally have four white facial stripes, whereas the A. jamaicensis do not.
Depending on food availability, Artibeus have been known to travel several kilometers in search of food, which in the wild includes fruits, such as figs, mangoes, avocados, and bananas, as well as pollen, nectar, flower parts, and insects. At Lubee, they are fed a diet of mixed fruits and fruit juices. They have unusually fast digestive tracts, taking only 15-20 minutes to pass food through it.
Walker’s Mammals of the World, 4th Edition; Ronald M. Nowak, John L. Paradiso, Vol. 1; Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983. “Chiroptera; Phyllostomidae” p 276-278.