The Pteropodidae family of bats includes the black flying fox or black fruit bat (Pteropus alecto). Although it is one of the biggest bats in the world, it is much smaller than the largest Pteropus species. Indigenous to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia is the black flying fox. It is not a species that is in danger. The short, black hair of the black flying fox contrasts with its reddish-brown mantle. Its mean forearm length is 164 mm (6.46 in), and its mean weight is 710 g (1.57 lb). It is one of the biggest species of bat in the world, with a wingspan exceeding 1 meter (39 in).
Black Flying Fox Appearance
One of the biggest species in its genus is the black flying fox. Furthermore, this creature is Australia’s largest bat. The Black flying fox is renowned for having wings that span more than a meter, which is extraordinarily long. Except for the rusty-red fur around its neck and the hairs with white tips on its abdomen, its body is nearly all black. Reddish-brown rings may be present around certain members of this species. Additionally, some bats have furless hind legs.
Black flying foxes consume the pollen and nectar of local turpentine, paperbark, lilypillies, and eucalyptus trees. The bats may eat introduced or commercial fruits, including mangos and apples, when there aren’t enough native foods available, especially during a drought. In quest of food, this species has been observed to cover distances of up to 50 km (31 mi) per night. As a replacement for more scarce natural species in residential areas, the species has evolved to consume invasive cocos palm trees, which now make up around 30% of the animals’ diet. The extreme acidity of the palm fruits, however, can be poisonous and even fatal.
Population threats: Even though the Black flying fox population as a whole is not in danger of extinction right now, these creatures are nevertheless at risk. For instance, the bats are hunted for food in several areas of their range. While this is going on, metropolitan areas are frequently endangered by power lines, barbed wire, and shooting in orchards. Additionally, temperature increases brought on by climate change have a detrimental effect on this species’ population.
Population number: The Black flying fox is widespread and common across its range, with the exception of Papua New Guinea, according to IUCN, however, there is no estimate of its total population. The IUCN Red List has this species listed as Least Concern (LC) because its population is currently stable.
Ecological niche: The Black flying foxes are important seed dispersers and pollinators in rainforests because of their diet.
This species’ mating habits have not been thoroughly investigated. They may, however, use a polygynous mating system, in which males mate with numerous females, just like other flying fox species. The animals separate into smaller groups during the winter after mating.
Every year, females give birth to one child. Newborn bats are entirely dependent on their mothers for the first four weeks of their lives. Due to its inability to fly, it clings to its mother’s hair and nipples. Following this time, the mother starts leaving the child at the camp each night so she may go shopping for food. At 2 to 3 months old, the juvenile bat begins to fly, at which point it begins to leave the camp to go out foraging at night. The age of sexual development is 2 years old, and weaning happens at 5 months, however, females of this species normally don’t start breeding until they are 3 years old.
Habits and Lifestyle
Black flying foxes are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are active at night. By day, they slumber in enormous roosts known as camps. The number of Black flying foxes in one of these camps can reach the hundreds of thousands, while Northern Territory sites typically house less than 30,000 animals. It is known for the black flying fox to roost in mixed camps with young red flying foxes.
These creatures wrap their wings tightly around themselves to stay warm when it’s chilly or rainy outside. They expand and flap their wings to cool off when it’s hot. When searching for food, Black flying foxes rely on their senses of sight and scent. To gather food, they frequently make lengthy nighttime treks of up to 50 kilometers. Fighting over food sources like ripening mangoes or eucalyptus blooms is common among black flying foxes.