Nyctimene draconilladragon tube-nosed fruit bat

Geographic Range

Nyctimene draconilla is restricted to the island of New Guinea. More specifically, this species is found in Papau New Guinea and West Guinea. Nyctimene draconilla has been recorded in small numbers in the forests of the Mamberamo River Basin, Lorentz River, and in the southern highlands of Papau New Guinea. It is likely that this species of bat is more widespread than previously believed due to difficulty in distinguishing Nyctimene draconilla from Nyctimene albiventer. ("American Museum Novitates", 1979; Pattiselanno, 2003)


Specific habitat requirements of N. draconilla are not well known. The few documentations of this species show that it has an affiliation with freshwater swamps and rivers. (Pattiselanno, 2003)

  • Range elevation
    0 to 80 m
    0.00 to 262.47 ft

Physical Description

Tubular nostrils, about 6 mm in length, are one of the most distinguishing features of dragon tube-nosed fruit bats. These are small bats that have dark to light brown fur (Nowak, 1994). Body lengths range from 65 to 85 mm and body mass ranges from 28 to 36 grams. Dragon tube-nosed fruit bats are known for having yellow or brown spots on their wing membranes (Pattiselanno, 2003). The general appearance of this species is very similar to common tube-tube nosed fruit bats (Nyctimene albiventer). These two species are so alike in their appearance that N. draconilla was previously thought to be a subspecies of N. albiventer. One of the distinguishing features that sets N. draconilla apart are their teeth, which are noticeably smaller than that of N. albiventer, which some suggest implies alternative feeding habits (Pattiselanno, 2003; Kitchener et al, 1993). ("American Museum Novitates", 1979; "Nyctimene draconilla", 2012; Gil, 2003; Kitchener, et al., 1993; Nowak, 1994; Pattiselanno, 2003)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    28 to 36 g
    0.99 to 1.27 oz
  • Range length
    65 to 84 mm
    2.56 to 3.31 in


The mating habits of dragon tube-nosed fruit bats have not been documented.

There is not enough scientific research done on dragon tube-nosed fruit bats to accurately describe their reproductive behavior. Pattsielanno (2003) showed that 8 of 15 captured females were pregnant and lactating in September. In both study sites, there was a resulting sex ratio of 1 male to 1.5 females (Pattsielanno 2003). Richards and Suryadi (2002) found 8 females carrying embryos in September. (Pattiselanno, 2003; Richards and Suryadi, 2002)

  • Breeding interval
    Breeding intervals in dragon tube-nosed fruit bats are not known.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding season in dragon tube-nosed fruit bats is not known.

Parental investment in dragon tube-nosed fruit bats has not been documented. However, like most bats, females are likely to be the majority of care for their single offspring.

  • Parental Investment
  • female parental care
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female


Lifespan in dragon tube-nosed fruit bats has not been documented.


Dragon tube-nosed fruit bats are social and often found in the presence of common tube-nosed fruit bats (Pattiselanno, 2003). They are quite mobile and, like many tube-nosed fruit bats, they feed on fruits at night (Gil, 2003). (Gil, 2003; Nowak, 1994)

Home Range

The area of home ranges has not been documented in this species. (Pattiselanno, 2003)

Communication and Perception

Modes of communication in dragon tube-nosed fruit bats have not been documented. However, like other fruit bats, they are likely to have excellent vision in low-light and to communicate with calls and pheromones. The unique, tubular nostrils might also be used in orientation. While no species of Old World fruit bat produces true ultrasonic echolocation, it is thought that the shape of their nostrils could help dragon tube-nosed fruit bats produce ultrasonic sounds useful in orientation (Nowak, 1994). (Nowak, 1994)

Food Habits

Dragon tube-nosed fruit bats are frugivorous (Freeman, 1995). Specific dietary choices of this species are not well studied. Close relatives, such as common tube-nosed fruit bats have been documented eating a variety of juicy fruits, figs, and even insects (Gil, 2003). The smaller teeth size in N. draconilla could suggest different dietary preferences than that of common tube-nosed fruit bats. Their tubular nostrils are thought to have a "snorkel" effect for the individual. While indulging in a juicy fruit, the nostrils allow the bat to breath (Nowak, 1994). ("Nyctimene draconilla", 2012; Freeman, 1995; Nowak, 1994)

  • Plant Foods
  • fruit


The mottled spots on the wing membranes of dragon tube-nosed fruit bats are thought to possibly act to camouflage these bats and lower the chance that an individual will be detected by a predator (Nowak, 1994). Specific predators of this species have not been documented. (Nowak, 1994)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Dragon tube-nosed fruit bats, as with most fruit bats, are important in dispersing the seeds of the plants that they eat. Due to their high mobility, they are capable of spreading seeds over potentially large areas. (Pattiselanno, 2003)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • disperses seeds

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Due to the isolated location, rarity, and overall lack of contact Nyctimene draconilla has with humans, its economic impact is unknown. ("Nyctimene draconilla", 2012)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of N. draconilla on humans. ("American Museum Novitates", 1979; "Nyctimene draconilla", 2012; Gil, 2003; Hollar and Springer, 1997; Kitchener, et al., 1993; Pattiselanno, 2003)

Conservation Status

The current status of dragon tube-nosed fruit bats on the IUCN Red List is "data deficient." In 1994 they were listed as "rare" and in 1996 they were listed as "vulnerable." Due to the unknown home range and sheer rarity of the species, major threats include possible habitat loss through human encroachment, climate change, and natural disasters (Nyctimene draconilla, 2012). There are currently no specific management plans for this species. ("Nyctimene draconilla", 2012; Gil, 2003; Kitchener, et al., 1993; Pattiselanno, 2003)


Nick Jensen (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Christopher Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map


uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


active at dawn and dusk


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


an animal that mainly eats fruit


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


1979. American Museum Novitates. Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY.: The American Museum of Natural History. Accessed February 12, 2013 at

2012. "Nyctimene draconilla" (On-line). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed February 10, 2013 at

Freeman, P. 1995. Nectivorous feeding mechanisms in bats. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 56: 439-463. Accessed May 01, 2013 at

Gil, M. 2003. "Animal Diversity Web" (On-line). Accessed April 01, 2013 at

Hollar, L., M. Springer. 1997. Old World fruitbat phylogeny: Evidence for convergent evolution and an endemic African clade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 94: 5716-5721.

Kitchener, D., W. Packer, I. Maryanto. 1993. Taxonomic Status of Nyctime (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) From the Banda, Kai and Are Islands, Maluku, Indonesia - Implications for Biogeography. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 16: 399-417.

Nowak, R. 1994. Walker's Bats of the World. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

O'Brien, G. 1993. Seasonal reproduction in flying foxes, reviewed in the context of other tropical mammals. Reproduction, Fertility, and Development, 5: 499-521.

Pattiselanno, F. 2003. Some fruit bats of the Mamberamo River Basin, West Papua, Indonesia. Asia Life Sciences, 12/1: 45-56. Accessed February 12, 2013 at

Richards, S., S. Suryadi. 2002. "A Biodiversity Assessment of Yongsu - Cyclops Mountains and the Southern Mamberamo Basin, Papua, Indonesia" (On-line). Accessed March 20, 2013 at