Aldabra flying fox (Pteropus aldabrensis)

loading
Aldabra flying fox with fruit
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Aldabra flying fox fact file

Aldabra flying fox description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderChiroptera
FamilyPteropodidae
GenusPteropus (1)

The Aldabra flying fox is one of only four mammals found on Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles (4). Its fur is pale brown on the back, with an abundant scattering of silvery-grey hairs. The underparts are yellowish-buff or a warm orange (2). Like other flying foxes, named for their fox-like faces, this species has relatively long and narrow wings that enable fast and efficient flight (5).

Spanish
Zorro Volador De Aldabra.
Size
Forearm length: 130 – 141 mm (2)
Ear length: 30 – 35 mm (2)
Top

Aldabra flying fox biology

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).

Top

Aldabra flying fox range

Occurs only on Aldabra Atoll (6), a coral atoll that sits in the Mozambique Channel, 680 kilometres east of the East African mainland, and measures 34 kilometres long by 14.5 kilometres wide. The atoll comprises four main islands and numerous smaller islets, surrounding a large shallow lagoon (4).

Top

Aldabra flying fox habitat

The habitat of Aldabra Atoll consists of mangroves fringing the central lagoon, groves of Casuarina trees on the seaward rim, and dense, shrubby vegetation covering the rest of the atoll (7).

Top

Aldabra flying fox status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

Top

Aldabra flying fox threats

The small, but apparently healthy, population of Aldabra flying foxes is not currently known to be facing any threats, but the tiny distribution of this species makes it incredibly vulnerable to any catastrophic event, whether caused by humans, such as the introduction of a predator to the atoll, or by nature, such as the potentially devastating effects of a cyclone (6).

Top

Aldabra flying fox conservation

Aldabra Atoll is well protected, being designated a Special Reserve in 1976 and a World Heritage Site in 1982 (4). The atoll is only inhabited by a small number of scientists, and so the natural habitat is largely unaffected by the threats and pressures usually associated with human habitation. The sustained protection of the Aldabra Atoll is essential for the continued precarious existence of the Aldabra flying fox (6).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

For further information on the conservation of bats see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
Top

Glossary

Nocturnal
Active at night.
Pollination
The transfer of pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Hill, J.E. (1971) The bats of Aldabra atoll, Western Indian Ocean. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 260(836): 573 - 576.
  3. CITES (December, 2007)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. UNEP-WCMC: Aldabra Atoll (March, 2008)
    http://www.unep-wcmc.org/sites/wh/pdf/Aldabra%20Atoll.pdf
  5. Macdonald, D.W. (2006) The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Mickleburgh, S.P., Hutson, A.M. and Racey, P.A. (1992) Old World Fruit Bats: An Action Plan for their Conservation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
  7. Seychelles Ministry of Environment (March, 2008)
    http://www.env.gov.sc
  8. Wickens, G.E. (1979) Speculations on Seed Dispersal and the Flora of the Aldabra Archipelago. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 286(1011): 85 - 97.
  9. Roberts, P. and Seabrook, W.A. (1989) A relationship between black rats (Rattus rattus), Seychelles fruit bats (Pteropus seychellensis aldabrensis) and the coccoid (Icerya seychellarum) (Insecta, Homoptera) on Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles. Journal of Zoology, 218: 332 - 334.
X
Close

Image credit

Aldabra flying fox with fruit  
Aldabra flying fox with fruit

© Sam Balderson

Sam Balderson
191 Belton Lane, Grantham, Lincolnshire
NG31 9PL
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 7977 429665
sambalderson@gmail.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/samandvashti/

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Aldabra flying fox (Pteropus aldabrensis) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is affected by global climate change. To learn about climate change and the species that are affected, visit our climate change pages.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog