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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Black Flying Fox
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4





 

Order : CHIROPTERA
Family : Pteropodidae
Species : Pteropus alecto

Forearm Length : up to 19 cm
Weight : up to 1000 gms

The Black Flying Fox, or Central Flying Fox, is a wide-ranging species which occurs in eastern Indonesia (Sulawesi), New Guinea and northern Australia. It inhabits tropical and subtropical mangrove, coastal forest, swamp forest and riverine forest.

It is known to form mixed colonies with other species of flying fox, which may include thousands of individuals. Large-scale movements of hundreds of these bats have been documented between eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia covering many hundreds of kilometres in a year.

The diet of this species includes a variety of flowers and fruits. For example, in Australia, eucalypts and Banksia are consumed, and in  tropical eastern Indonesia rainforest fruits are eaten. The species also has a taste for cultivated fruits, particularly mango.

Their fur is typically jet black throughout, but some populations or individuals possess a brown patch of fur on the back of the neck and shoulders. In some individuals the tips of each hair may be frosted with grey.

In Sulawesi over-hunting for food has had a dramatic effect on populations, such that the species is now considered to be absent from North Sulawesi province (including the area around Manado).
 

Fig 1 : Typical example with jet black fur, and frosted hair tips on the upper chest. Brownish-black fur can be seen at the back of the neck.

Figs 2 and 3 : Another example, consuming a ripe mango in a city park. This specimen has more pronounced brown fur on the back of the neck.

Fig 4 : A roost in riverine forest.

All images from Northern Territory, Australia.


References : M7

IUCN
I