Common Name: Island or Variable flying fox
Scientific Name: Pteropus hypomelanus
Distribution: Andaman and Maldives Islands; New Guinea through Indonesia to Vietnam and Thailand, and adjacent islands; Philippines. Solomon Islands records are probably erroneous (K. Helgen, pers. comm.).
Status: CITES – Appendix II. IUCN (2008) – Least Concern (LC).
The Island flying fox includes 16 subspecies and is common throughout its range except for the subspecies P.h. maris of the Maldives, which is endangered due to limited distribution, and excessive culling. The greatest threat to the Island flying fox is human predation and habitat destruction. They often roost on small islands and the threat of hunting has increased as island chains popularity as tourist spots increase.
The Island flying fox is a medium sized fruit bat, with a wingspan of approaching 4 ft (1.21 m) and a weight of about 1.5 lbs (750g). Island flying fox females reach maturity at 1.5 years old and males at 2 years old. Their gestation period is approximately 155 days after which a single pup is born. The pups can weigh up to 10% of their mother’s body weight. The Island flying fox can live for up to 30 years.
This species has keen sight and a great sense of smell, which helps them search for their necessary food source. They have been recorded travelling up to 20 miles (32 km) in search of food. In the wild, Island flying fox feed primarily on fruits and plant parts including flowers, pollen, nectar, and leaves. In captivity they are maintained on a variety of fruits including apples, grapes, bananas, cantaloupes, pears, peaches, kiwis, pine apples, mangoes, papayas, dried fruit, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, spinach, kale and various other vegetables. This medium size fruit bat eats about half of its body weight in food daily.