Temminck's flying fox (Pteropus temminckii)

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Temminck's flying fox fact file

Temminck's flying fox description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderChiroptera
FamilyPteropodidae
GenusPteropus (1)

Found on just three small Indonesian islands, relatively little is known about Temminck's flying fox (Pteropus temminckii) (1). In general, species of flying fox (in the genus Pteropus) have a long, elongated skull. As with all members of its genus, Temmink’s flying fox lacks the ability to echolocate, and so has large, reflective eyes which allow it to see well at night, as well as fairly small and simple ears. Smell is important for navigating without echolocation and therefore it has well-developed nostrils (3).

Temmink’s flying fox is likely to be similar in colour to other members of its genus, being greyish brown or black with the area between the shoulders yellow or greyish yellow. This species does not have a tail (4). Its teeth are also well-developed and as with most fruit bats, the second finger is independent of the third finger and has a claw at the end (3).

Spanish
Zorro Volador De Temminck.
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Temminck's flying fox biology

Bats in the family Pteropodidae, known as fruit bats, feed mainly on nectar and fruit (5), and members of the genus Pteropus fly to fruit trees to feed at dusk. Fruit bats obtain fruit juices by squeezing pieces of fruit pulp in their mouths, swallowing the juice and spitting out the pulp and seeds. They are also likely to chew flowers to obtain the juices and pollen. Flying foxes have been shown to have a key role in pollination and seed dispersal for many plant species (4).

Unlike many other bats, fruit bats such as Temminck's flying fox lack echolocation, so rely on eyesight and smell to find their way around in the dark. They also often climb through trees, using the claws on their wings as feet to grip the branches (3).

Most fruit bats are between 6 and 18 months old when they first breed, and births in the genus Pteropus are usually highly synchronised, with the females giving birth to a single young once a year (4) (5). This species has been found not to occur in large colonies, instead sticking to smaller social groups (1).

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Temminck's flying fox range

Endemic to the group of Indonesian islands known as the Maluku Islands, Temminck's flying fox is found solely on the three islands of Buru, Seram, and Ambon (1).

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Temminck's flying fox habitat

Temminck's flying fox roosts in foliage and lives in primary tropical forest. Although the islands on which it lives are mountainous, this species is mainly found in lowland areas, no higher than 1,000 metres above sea level (1).

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Temminck's flying fox status

Temminck's flying fox is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (2).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Temminck's flying fox threats

Temminck's flying fox has seen an estimated population decline of more than 30 percent over recent years. This ongoing decline is largely due to logging activities destroying and degrading its primary forest habitat. Local hunting is also threatening this bat species, with hunting for human consumption quite common (1). Logging can also leave the ground particularly vulnerable to the effects of cyclones, which can strip it of food and safe roosting sites for bats (6).

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Temminck's flying fox conservation

Temminck's flying fox is listed on Appendix II of CITES, meaning that trade of this species should be closely controlled (2). Part of its habitat is also protected by the Manusela National Park, which was established in central Seram in 1997 and covers an area of 1,890 kilometres squared. A conservation action plan for Old World Fruit Bats, which includes Temminck's flying fox, was published in 1992 by the IUCN. This outlined a number of measures required for the survival of these species, including surveys to find out more about their distribution, and potential threats (6).

Although some measures are in place, further studies are needed into the natural history of Temminck's flying fox, the severity of threats to it, and the identification of important roosting and foraging sites, to enable us to better protect and conserve this species (1).

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Find out more

Find out about the conservation of flying foxes:

 More information on the conservation of bats:

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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

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Colony
A group of organisms living together
Echolocation
Detecting objects by reflected sound. Used by bats and odontocete cetaceans (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) for orientation and to detect and locate prey.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
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.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. CITES (November, 2011)
    http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
  3. Francis, C.M. (2008) A Field Guide to the Mammals of South-East Asia. New Holland, London.
  4. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World, Volume 1. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  5. Burton, M. and Burton, R. (1980) The International Wildlife Encyclopedia. Marshall Cavendish, New York.
  6. Mickleburgh, S.P., Hutson, A.M. and Racey, P.A. (1992) Old WorldFruit Bats: An Action Plan for their Conservation. IUCN, Switzerland.
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