Tongan flying fox

Pteropus tonganus

SUBFAMILY

Pteropodinae

TAXONOMY

Pteropus tonganus Quay-Gaimard, 1830, Tonga Islands. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: White-necked fruit bat, insular fruit bat, Tongan fruit bat, Pacific flying fox.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Forearm 5-6 in (13-15 cm), wingspan up to 3 ft (0.9 m), weight 10.5-21 oz (300-600 g). The fur is black or brown with numerous white hairs on its head, dorsum, and ventrum. Mantle is red and yellow-brown with a strip on the dorsum between the wings.

DISTRIBUTION

Guam.

HABITAT

The preferred habitat is riparian. The Tongan flying fox uses coconut palm trees, broadleaf trees, and forest remnants. There are both day and night roosts.

BEHAVIOR

Roosts singly in small groups or large communal groups, hanging from branches in the shade. The size and structure of the roost sizes appear to be organized by reproductive status. Bachelor males, clusters of females defended by a male, groups of females, and young. Compared to some of the other Pteropus species, it is a relatively quiet bat. Foraging begins about and hour before dark with short flights between various trees.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Frugivorous. Primarily feeds on fruit, flowers, nectar, and sap.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygynous. Births can occur year-round but is most common from June to August. Gestation lasts for five months. Single or twin births can be expected. Young are weaned at three months but will stay with the mother until they reach adult size.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Hunted for food. Performs valuable pollination and seed dispersal of plants. ♦

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