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Sunda Flying Fox

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4


Family : Pteropodidae
Species : Acerodon mackloti

Forearm Length : up to 20 cm
Weight : up to 565 gms

The Sunda Flying Fox is one of 5 species in the genus Acerodon, which are all endemic to either the Philippines or Indonesia. Some species are under threat due to habitat loss or over-hunting.

Externally, Acerodon bats look similar to the Pteropus genus, of which there are around 60 species globally : the difference between these groups lies in cranial dimensions and dentition.

The Sunda Flying Fox is perhaps the least threatened species of Acerodon. It tends to roost in coastal areas, for example amongst fig trees which also comprise part of their food source.

Illustrated here are some images of a huge roost of flying fox at Pulau Koaba near the coast of Rinca Island, which is the second largest island in Komodo National Park. Based on the presence of an orange nape, black head and medium to dark brown underside, this species is tentatively identified as the Sunda Flying Fox.

Pulau Koaba, which is also known as Kalong Island (Fruit Bat Island), is a low-lying circular island measuring 500 metres across and appearing to comprise a core of taller trees surrounded by dense mangrove. At dusk, the sight of thousands of bats leaving their roost and heading for their feeding grounds is a magnificent spectacle.

The Sunda Flying Fox is endemic to Indonesia, and appears to be restricted to the Lesser Sunda Islands (Nusa Tenggara) including, from west to east, the islands of Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Timor and Alor.

Fig 1 : This specimen is tentatively a Sunda Flying Fox, with orange-brown collar on the neck. 

Figs 2 and 3 : At dusk thousands of, what appear to be, Sunda Flying Fox stream from a colony located deep inside a mangrove forest on Pulau Koaba.

Fig 4 : The wingspan of this species can sometimes exceed one metre.

All images from near Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia.

References :

Kunz, T. and Pierson, E. 1994. Walker's Bats of the World. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press

Mickleburgh, S. P., Hutson, A. M., & Racey, P. A., 1992. Old World Fruit Bats : An Action Plan for their Conservation. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.

Thanks to Tammy Mildenstein for her helpful comments.