What have bats got to do with durians?

It is known that nectar bats help pollinate durian flowers but a recent pioneering field study by non-profit research group Rimba at Malaysia's Pulau Tioman confirms that the larger island flying fox, a fruit bat, is also an important pollinator.

This discovery could aid the cause for the conservation of the flying foxes. A group of cancer scientists in Singapore published a paper in October documenting their success in sequencing the durian fruit's genome.

The paper also said that the durian's sulfur-related genes could have evolved to attract bats and elephants. This knowledge could benefit growers in South-east Asia, where the durian is a major crop.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2017, with the headline 'What has bats got to do with durians?'. Print Edition | Subscribe