Fruit bats discovered to have menstrual cycles

July 30, 2007

They say their findings – published in this month's issue of key journal Biology of Reproduction - could lead to bats being studied by researchers trying to understand human menstrual problems and other reproductive disorders.

A team of Chinese scientists headed by Professor Shuyi Zhang of East China Normal University, and Hongmei Wang of the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, made the finding when they studied the bat Leschenault's rousette which lives in caves in South Asia.

They then brought on board Professor Paul Racey of the University of Aberdeen who is a world leading researcher of bats and their reproductive biology.

Professor Racey, Regius Professor of Natural History, said: "Although it occurs in primates, menstruation is found in few of the world's 4,000 species of mammals which is why this discovery is so remarkable.

"The finding is significant because it extends our knowledge of the reproductive biology of what is a large group of mammals.

"It also raises the possibility that this type of fruit bat could be studied by those who are trying to increase our understanding of human menstrual dysfunction and other reproductive disorders."

Source: University of Aberdeen

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