The Vanuatu flying fox spends most of the day in small, quiet colonies (1) (6). Colonies often use the same roosting site year after year, which are generally located considerable distances from the preferred feeding sites (3). The Vanuatu flying fox locates food mainly by sight and smell, feeding primarily on fruits, such as figs, breadfruit and coconuts, as well as on some flowers (1) (5) (6). Many Pteropus bats have also been observed eating insects to supplement the limited protein intake received from fruits and flowers (4) (5).
The Vanuatu flying fox feeds by biting into fruit while hovering, or by holding a branch with one foot and pressing the fruit to the chest with the other, before biting it. It often carries smaller fruits to a branch, where it may hang upside down while eating. The fruit juices are obtained by squeezing the fruit against the ridges of the mouth to crush it. The juices are then swallowed and the remaining pulp and seeds are spat out as pellets (3) (4).
Very little information is available on the specific breeding biology of the Vanuatu flying fox. Males are thought to become most sexually active between October and January, with females generally believed to have a birth peak in August and September (1) (6). As with other Pteropus species, it is likely that the female leaves the main colony after mating, forming smaller groups with other females. Generally species in this genus give birth to a single young after a gestation period of 92 and 140 days, with the exact duration varying between species. The adult female may carry the young for the first three to six weeks after birth, and lactation typically lasts around three to six months (3). Pteropus species have a particularly slow reproductive rate and are not able to reproduce until around one and a half to two years of age (4).
Flying foxes play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal for a great variety of plants. However, they are also considered to be a serious pest in some regions, and some species have been known to devastate crops overnight (3).