Island Flying-Fox (Pteropus hypomelanus)

 

 

Description.

HB:170-200; T: None; FA: 130-144; E:23-25; HF: 45-50; W: 45g

Its fur colour is variable but is generally dark grey-brown on the lower back to orange-brown in the underparts and around the chest and face. The populations towards the west of the species range is generally darker in colour. The hairs around the eyes are greyish. Postorbital processes are variable, sometimes reaching halfway around the orbit. The premaxillaries are open , with quite large palatal foramina. Dentition is heavy, and the large premolars have a distinct ridge on the posterior surface, lacking or very faint in other Thai species. The canines have long, deep longitudinal grooves, causing the tooth to split. The upper incisors are in a semi circle , well separated from the canine. The first upper premolar is very tiny.

Range Description:

 This species is widespread, ranging from the Maldives and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India) in the West, to Melanesia in the east. In South Asia, this species is restricted to only four locations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India and Addu Atoll in Maldives (Molur et al. 2002). The species is found on many offshore islands and in coastal lowlands in the Southeast Asian region, including the Philippines and Indonesia (Sulawesi). In the Philippines it is found throughout the country with the possible except of the Palawan faunal region; records are from: Bohol, Cagayan Sulu, Camotes (Paguntulan pers. comm. 2006) Camiguin, Cebu (Paguntulan pers. comm. 2006) Cuyo, Dinagat, Guimaras, Leyte, Luzon (Camarines Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Nueva Ecija) Mactan, Marinduque, Maripipi, Masbat, Mindanao (Gunther 1897) Negros, Panay (including Boracay and Batbatan), Polillo, Romblon (Timm and Birney 1980), Samar, Siargao, Sibuyan, Siquijor (Heaney et al. 1998) Tablas (Paguntulan pers. comm. 2006). There are few records from mainland Papua New Guinea; the species is also found in the D'Entrecastreaux Archipelago of Papua New Guinea, on Manus in the Admiralty Islands. Records from New Britain and Tabar are questionable (probably P. admiraltatum). It is confirmed only from Mbanika and the Russel Islands in the Solomons. In South Asia, this species has been recorded from sea level to an elevation of 100 m asl. It has been recorded from sea level up to 900 m asl in the Philippines; it is primarily found in low elevation areas in Melanesia (under 500 m asl).
Countries: Native:
India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Maldives; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Solomon Islands; Thailand; Vietnam

Population:

This species is common to abundant throughout its range, and can form colonies of up to 5,000 individuals. The abundance, population size and trends for this species are not known in South Asia (Molur et al. 2002).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology:

In South Asia, this species roosts in large colonies of several individuals and is found in forests, orchards, coconut palm groves (Molur et al. 2002). It feeds both on wild and cultivated fruits (Bates and Harrison 1997). In most parts of its range in the Philippines, this species roosts on small offshore islands and near coastlines, but forages on the mainland where it is common in agricultural areas and absent from primary forest (Heideman and Heaney 1992, Rickart et al. 1993, Utzurrum 1992). In Melanesia, it is generally an insular species found on small offshore islands. Animals may commute infrequently to larger islands for foraging. It is known to roost in trees, often in large groups at the coastline. It can be found foraging for food in both primary and secondary tropical forest habitats, rural gardens and plantations. The females give birth to a single young which take about one year to reach maturity (Flannery 1995; Bonaccorso 1998).
Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

 There are no major threats to this species as a whole. In South Asia, this species is threatened by deforestation, generally resulting from logging operations and the conversion of land to agricultural and other uses. It is also threatened due to tourism related activities (Molur et al. 2002). The species is under heavy hunting pressure in the Philippines, although it may be able to withstand this, at least in the short term, as populations have remained stable. Animals are sold locally for 30-50 Philippine Pesos each Cariņo pers. comm. 2006). In Melanesia, the species is locally vulnerable to hunting. Island populations of this species, especially on the coastal islands of northern New Guinea, are vulnerable to overexploitation by hunting for food (Bonaccorso 1998). Threats to this species are unknown in Indonesia.

Conservation Actions:

This is accorded vermin classification under Schedule V of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. This species has been recorded from Barren Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Andaman and Nicobar Island in India. Taxonomic studies, ecology, population monitoring and habitat management are recommended. Awareness needs to be created to mitigate threats to this species (Molur et al. 2002). This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. This species apparently does well in captive-breeding programmes (Bonaccorso 1998).

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