Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species has been recorded from the Moluccan Islands of Indonesia (including the islands of Halmahera, Bacan, Obi, Misool, and Gebe), it is present on Salawati Island (Indonesia), Biak and Yapen islands (Indonesia), coastal areas of the island of New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), the D’Entrecasteaux Islands (Papua New Guinea), the Louisade Archipelago (Papua New Guinea), and is found in Australia where it ranges patchily from Cape York to coastal central Queensland between MacKay and Rockhampton (Flannery 1995a,b; Bonaccorso 1998), with the main population in the Wet Tropics (B. Thomson pers. comm.). It is found from sea level to 200 m asl.
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Geographic Range

The range of Pteropus conspicillatus comprises Northeast Queensland, Australia above 19 degrees South; the Halmahera Islands; and New Guinea and adjacent islands.

(Martin, 1995)

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

This species is sexually dimorphic in size.

Females weigh 510-665 g, while males weigh 950-100 g.

Forearm length is 157-181 mm and head and body length is 220-240mm.

Pteropus conspicillatus is black with a yellow mantle. The fur surrounding the eyes is yellow-green, giving the appearance of spectacles.

(Flannery, 1995; Andersen, 1912; Chambers, 1998)

Range mass: 510 to 1000 g.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in lowland swamp, mangrove, and tropical moist forest habitats (Duncan et al. 1999). It has been recorded in both primary and disturbed areas. Females annually give birth to a single young.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Pteropus conspicillatus occupies primary and secondary growth tropical rainforest. Roosting generally occurs in dead trees or trees stripped of their foliage.

(Richards, 1995)

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Pteropus conspicillatus is a frugivore specialist (sensu Richards, 1995), meaning >90% of its diet consists of the fruits of forest trees and palms. This species locates its food visually; thus, fruits pollinated by P. conspicillatus are light-colored and stand out against the dark upper rainforest canopy. Common fruits eaten include citrus, mango, Northern Bloomwood, and Apple Box. In addition, Pteropus conspicillatus raids orchards.

(Richards, 1995; Chambers, 1998)

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals, but one specimen was still alive after 11.6 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Female P. conspicillatus reach sexual maturity at two years of age. Copulation occurs between March and May, followed by a 7-month gestation period. Generally, females give birth to one young per year. Young bats are weaned after four months.

(Chambers, 1998; Martin et al. 1995).

Average gestation period: 180 days.

Average number of offspring: 1.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Helgen, K., Salas, L. & Bonaccorso, F.

Reviewer/s
Lamoreux, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team), Racey, P.A., Medellín, R. & Hutson, A.M. (Chiroptera Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, large population (including very large colonies in many places, including cities), and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
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The "vulnerable" status is based on a listing by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage for the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (QDEH 1994). QDEH only considers a species' status within Queensland, so a species that is stable or common

elsewhere in Australia may still be on the Queensland listing.

However, P. conspicillatus is fairly common throughout its limited range.

Due to habitat modification, P. conspicillatus is now feeding closer to the ground within reach of a paralysis tick; the tick causes deaths within the colonies, particularly of young bats.

(Cyplus On-Line--Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy; Chambers, 1998; Richards and Hall, 1998)

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
It is generally a common species.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
It is threatened on New Guinea by logging of suitable coastal habitats, and the species is eaten (F. Bonaccorso pers. comm.). In Australia it is threatened by habitat loss through conversion of coastal and upland forest to crops (e.g., sugar), pastureland, and urban development (Duncan et al. 1999). Loss of moist forest habitat overall in its range has been up to 80% (B. Thomson pers. comm.). It is known to raid orchards and large numbers are electrocuted and shot in orchards and at colonies (Duncan et al. 1999). It is also threatened by mortality through infestation with paralysis tick, disturbance of maternity colonies, and collision with barbed-wire fences and power lines (Richards et al. 2008).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It is present within a number of protected areas. Ongoing monitoring of Australian populations is needed.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Flying foxes cause an estimated $20 in damage to fruit crops annually in Australia; the proportion of this damage inflicted by P. conspicillatus is not known. In addition, P. conspicillatus and other species of flying foxes have caused power outages by "roosting" on electrical wires.

(Mickleburgh et al, 1992; Tideman, 1998)

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Pteropus conspicillatus is an important disperser of many rainforest species. Plants that are adapted to bat dispersal tend to have light-colored fruits, in contrast to the brightly-colored fruits of species adapted to avian dispersal and pollination. As a result, P. conspicillatus is an integral part of the rainforest ecosystem. Tourist visits to the tropical forest in Far North Queensland are economically important to the region.

In addition, P. conspicillatus is eaten both by aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians. The growth and harvest of these animals as a food source has been proposed as an economically profitable and ecologically sustainable practice.

(Mickleburgh et al, 1992; Tideman, 1998; Richards, 1995)

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Wikipedia

Spectacled flying fox

The spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus), also known as the spectacled fruit bat, is a megabat that lives in Australia's north-eastern regions of Queensland. It is also found in New Guinea and on the offshore islands including Woodlark Island, Alcester Island, Kiriwina, and Halmahera.

The spectacled flying fox was listed as a threatened species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1991. They were considered vulnerable due to a significant decline in numbers as a result of loss of their prime feeding habitat[1] and secluded camp sites. It has also been reported that spectacled flying foxes skim over the surface of water to drink and are sometimes eaten by crocodiles.[1] The species was classified as "least concern" by the IUCN in 2008.[2]

Description[edit]

The head and body length is 22–24 cm, forearm 157–181 mm, weight 400–1000 g. A large black flying fox has pale yellow or straw-colored fur around its eyes. The mantle is pale yellow and goes across the back, neck, and shoulders. Some have pale yellow fur on the face and top of the head.

Habitat[edit]

Spectacled flying foxes, Cooktown, Queensland

Spectacled flying foxes are forest dwellers and rainforests are their preferred habitat. They prefer to roost in the middle and upper canopy strata in the full sun. Colonies of the Spectacled flying fox can be found in rain forests, mangroves, and paperbark and eucalypt forests.[1] No colony is known to be located more than 7 km from a rainforest.

Diet[edit]

The spectacled flying fox's natural diet is rainforest fruits, riparian zone flowers, and flowers from Myrtaceae (primarily Eucalyptus and Syzygium species) and fruits from the Moraceae (figs) and Myrtaceae (primarily Syzygium).[3]

Life cycle[edit]

Spectacled flying foxes have one pup annually. Females are capable of breeding at one year of age.[4] Males probably do not breed until three to four years of age. They are polygamous (similar to the grey-headed flying fox, Pteropus poliocephalus. Female to male ratio may be as high as 2:1.[5] Conception occurs April to May. Sexual activity is continuous from about January to June. Females give birth to one young per year in October to December. Juveniles are nursed for over five months, and on weaning, congregate in nursery trees in the colony. The juveniles fly out for increasing distances with the colony at night and are 'parked' in nursery trees, often kilometres distant from the colony, and are brought back to the colony in the morning.[6]

Life expectancy[edit]

Spectacled flying foxes typically live to be around 12 to 15 years old. However healthy bats in captivity can exceed 30 years of age. Natural causes of mortality include predation mainly by rufous owls and pythons, death by paralysis tick when bats climb low to the ground to feed, as well as the death of premature babies that are born too early when either something goes wrong in the fetus' development, or the mother suffers from prolonged stress. Flying foxes are also frequently killed in human related incidents such as landing on power lines, and getting entangled in nets or barbed wire.[7] Most wild flying foxes are assumed to live much shorter lives.[4]

Conservancy[edit]

The species is part of Organization for Bat Conservation's many international conservation projects.

In 2012, the Queensland Government reintroduced the issuing of permits which allows farmers and fruit-growers (with permits)to kill limited numbers of flying foxes in order to protect crops. The shooting of bats had been banned by the previous Qld Labor government after advice from the Qld Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) that the practice was inhumane.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Spectacled Flying-fox". Australian Museum. 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ Helgen, K., Salas, L. & Bonaccorso, F. (2008). "Pteropus conspicillatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 3.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  3. ^ (AMBS 2004a; Richards 1987)
  4. ^ a b (Garnett et al. 1999).
  5. ^ (C. Tidemann undated, pers. comm. cited in Garnett et al. 1999).
  6. ^ (Richards & Spencer 1998).
  7. ^ (Hall 1995; Flannery 1995).

Further reading[edit]

  • Birt, P., Markus, N., Collins, L. & Hall, L. (1998) Nature Australia, Spring, pp. 55–59.
  • Churchill, Sue. (1998) Australian Bats. Sydney: Reed New Holland, pp. 84–85.
  • Hall, L. (1983) "Spectacled Flying Fox." In Ronald Strahan (ed.). The Mammals of Australia, Reed Books, Chatswood, p. 282.
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