The Symbiotic Relationship Between the Fig Tree & the Amazon Fruit Bat

Fruit bats and other animals are responsible for the spread of fig seeds.
••• wild unripe figs on the tree in santorini Greece image by Antony McAulay from Fotolia.com

Fig trees and Amazon fruit bats provide an excellent example of a dependent relationship in nature, a term known as symbiosis. Without each other the fig tree and fruit bat would have a difficult time surviving.

Providing Meals

According to an article on the website of the PBS television show Nature, fruit bats nightly eat half their body weight in figs. Clearly, the fig tree is a necessary staple in the Amazon fruit bat’s survival. Without these trees, the fruit bat’s food source would quickly be depleted.

Spreading Seeds

Fruit bats return the favor to the fig tree by doing their own share of the work. Many times, fruit bats carry their food a short distance away instead of perching in the tree while they eat it. The fruit’s seeds fall as they eat, and another fig tree has the opportunity to grow. In the case that the bat swallows the seeds, they pass through the animal’s digestive tract unharmed and are expelled in a new location.

Eliminating Competition

The Amazon fruit bat’s eating habits not only help deposit the fig trees seeds, but also ensure that seedling will sprout far enough from the parent tree that they do not have to compete for root space and soil nutrients.

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