The Aldabra flying fox is a nocturnal bat that spends the daylight hours roosting in tall trees. At night, this fruit bat emerges to feed on the flesh of fruits from plants such as Terminalia catappa (tropical almond), Cocos nucifera (coconut palm) and Ficus (fig) and Agave species (6) (8). By feeding on fruits, the flying fox unintentionally carries out a number of vital services for some of the plants: pollination, as pollen grains can become attached to the bat whilst feeding, and seed dispersion, as ingested seeds are excreted a distance from the parent plant (5).
The Aldabra flying fox needs to supplement this low protein fruit diet with other sources of protein, such as pollen, insects, buds and leaves. In addition, it has been reported feeding on excrete from coccoids (scale insects and mealybugs). Coccoids feed on the sap of woody shrubs and trees and excrete a sugary waste called ‘honeydew’. It is this honeydew that the flying fox has been seen licking from the leaves of fig trees, possibly providing an important source of protein during the dry season, when other protein sources may be scarce (9).
The flying foxes of Aldabra are reportedly strong, slow fliers, and have been observed a long way out to sea (8). The Aldabra flying fox has been observed mating in October, November, March and June, and females have been recorded carrying young in December and January (6).