The day a fruit fell from above…

posted in: Fauna, Plants | 0

One evening at around 19:30 hours, Rosemary Chng was standing outside the gate of her house under a Trumpet tree (Tabebuia sp.). Suddenly she gave a yell when something landed on her head. Her boys were amused as they thought she was ‘delusional’. By then Rosemary was nursing a small ‘buah duku’ on her head. Buah duku is Malay for the Duku (Lansium domesticum), a local fruit that comes in bunches of small round fruits. People usually refer to bumps on the head as buah dukes.

So you can take it that Rosemary got a two-in-one deal, two fruits for the price of one. The fruit that fell on her head was that of the Sea Apple (Syzygium grande) (top). Her son Aaron eventually found the offending fruit on the ground nearby. But she was not standing under a Sea Apple tree. And although this tree is commonly planted along the roadside, etc. (below), there are no such trees anywhere nearby.

When she examined the fruit, there were distinct teeth marks on it. Coming from above could only be from a Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) that flew over her. These bats normally pick fruits from trees and fly to their favourite roost to eat LINK 1 and LINK 2. And along the way this particular bat must have lost its grip on the fruit.

Dr Leong Tzi Ming, who has been studying bats around Singapore, was asked about the markings on the fruit. His answer: “the cross-section of the bat’s canines would be triangular.”

Credits: Rosemary Chng (image of fruit), YC Wee (image of tree) & Dr Leong Tzi Ming (interpretation).

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