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The Sleepless Sentinel

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Fruit bat alerted Earth Quack at Darjeeling

NINB, Darjeeling: Fruit Bats alerted well before the Earth Quack at Darjeeling. The incident proves once again that the animals are more advance in sensing natural calamities. It is reported that few number of Fruit Bats at Darjeeling district behaved unnatural before the 25th quake at Nepal. The Bats are nocturnal mammal, usually move at evening and night. On 25th morning (8-11 am) some flying Bats were found in the sky with a peculiar sound! One of them collided with a long tree perhaps due to sighting problem during the daytime. The animal faced free-fall to ground, while flew away within few minutes. The incident has been reported from the Palmajua area of Darjeeling district, West Bengal; which was not at all the epicenter of the quack but a nearby area to Nepal. The area located in the high altitude of Rimbik and within the Singalila National Park.

The behavior of the Bats appeared unnatural and clearly indicated some disastrous situation well in advance. Few local villagers observed them but couldn't understand their message as the so-called civilized human society headily experienced with the natural truth! "We thought, a predator may had attacked their habitat and scattered the Bats" -Chuttu Tamang, a local villager informed Nature Indian.

After an analysis from villager's description, it reveals that the species perhaps belong to Sphingidae family and named as Blanford's Fruit Bat, Sphaerias blanfordi. It found in Bhutan, China, India (Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal), Myanmar, and Thailand. In West Bengal, it is only found in Goomti and Palmajua areas of Darjeeling district. It is already listed in schedule-V with data deficit (DD) status.

The species BFB belongs to Macroglossinae subfamily of Sphingidae family. They are distributed medium to very large-sized moths with robust bodies. Some are active at night, others at twilight or dawn, and others (such as the clearwings) feed on flowers during the day and resemble bumblebees or hummingbirds. Larvae feed day and night on woody and herbaceous plants. Adults of the Macroglossinae have sensory hairs on the first segment of their labial palps, while adults of the Sphinginae lack them. Most species pupate in the soil, though some form loose cocoons in the leaf layer.

"This incident demands immediate research on the species before it is extinct from Nature" -said Samik Gupta, a member of International Union for Conservation of Nature, Commission on Education and Communication.