Pteropus pumiluslittle golden-mantled flying fox

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Geographic Range

Little golden-mantled flying foxes, Pteropus pumilus, are found on small and intermediate-sized islands in the Philippines including the Greater Luzon, Greater Mindanao, Greater Negros-Panay, Greater Palawan, Mindoro and Sibuyan faunal regions. They primarily live inland in lowland tropical forests. ("Island Bats: evolution, ecology, and conservation", 2009; Carino, et al., 2010)

Habitat

Little golden-mantled flying foxes primarly live in lowland, well-developed secondary forests, although a roosting site has been found in a scrubland area. They live at elevations between 0 (sea level) and 1,250 m (average 1,1110 m). Little golden-mantled flying foxes require tropical forest environments to support their frugivorous diet, but due to deforestation and expanding farmland they occasionally invade farms, gaining a reputation as pests. ("Island Bats: evolution, ecology, and conservation", 2009; Carino, et al., 2010)

  • Range elevation
    0 to 1,250 m
    0.00 to ft
  • Average elevation
    1,110 m
    ft

Physical Description

Little golden-mantled flying foxes are bats and the smallest of the genus Pteropus. They have a rounded, oval-shaped body, and their fur is brown in color, though some individuals are gray in color. Their wings are furless, and they have claws at the end of their wings and feet. This species exhibits low sexual dimorphism. Adults usually range from 145 to 200 g in mass. Their wingspan averages 0.3 m in length. ("Lubee Bat Conservancy", 2008; Reeder, et al., 2006)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    145 to 200 g
    5.11 to 7.05 oz
  • Average wingspan
    0.3 m
    0.98 ft

Reproduction

Unlike many other species of Pteropus where males tend to fight with other males for potential mates, little golden-mantled flying foxes are not aggressive during mating. Instead, male little golden-mantled flying foxes "wait in line" for a female rather then fighting other males. This species is polygynous. (Reeder, et al., 2006)

Little is known about the reproductive cycles and behaviors of little golden-mantled flying foxes. What has been observed of reproduction of this species has been in captivity. Little golden-mantled flying foxes are generally solitary, and mating is the only activity in which they interact with other members of their species. They are are seasonal breeders, typically breeding in the fall. Females generally reproduce once a year,though on occasion they may breed twice a year. They normally give birth to one offspring each season, though occasionally twins are born. Little golden-mantled flying foxes reach independence at 11 to 12 weeks of age. (Reeder, et al., 2006)

  • Breeding interval
    Little golden-mantled flying foxes breed once to twice yearly.
  • Breeding season
    Little golden-mantled flying foxes begin breeding in the fall.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Range time to independence
    11 to 12 weeks
  • Average time to independence
    11 weeks

Female little golden-mantled flying foxes spend up to 11 weeks caring for their offspring, teaching the how to forage and move around by themselves. Due to the heavy involvement of mothers in the rearing of their offspring, females can only support 1, and in some rare instances 2, offspring at a time. Males do not invest any energy in raising young after birth. (Carino, et al., 2010; Reeder, et al., 2006)

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

Lifespan/Longevity

The lifespan of little golden-mantled flying foxes is currently unknown for individuals in the wild. The longest living specimen is a male in captivity at the Lubee Bat Conservancy at 17.2 years of age. ("Lubee Bat Conservancy", 2008)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    17.2 (high) years

Behavior

While many species of Pteropus are highly social, living in groups ranging from hundreds to sometimes thousands of individuals, little golden-mantled flying foxes roost in small groups and experience little social interaction. In captivity with other members of the species, little golden-mantled flying foxes are quite solitary, each individual remaining in its own area. Little golden-mantled flying foxes make nests in the trees, in which they roost. (Reeder, et al., 2006)

Home Range

The home range of little golden-mantled flying foxes is currently unknown. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003)

Communication and Perception

Unlike most bats, little golden-mantled flying foxes do not use echolocation to detect food, but rather use their olfactory senses. They can distinguish between ripe and unripe fruit based on their heightened sense of smell. Members of this species can see both during the day and during the night. (Reeder, et al., 2006)

Food Habits

Little golden-mantled flying foxes are frugivorous, though their specific diet has not been identified. They have been observed eating the fruit of a Dangkalan tree. Their heightened sense of smell allows them to detect ripe fruit. The claws on their feet enable them to easily hang upside down from trees while they eat, though they also forage on the ground. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) of little golden-mantled flying foxes is lower than other members of the genus Pteropus because of their small size. It has been suggested that the small size and low BMR may be related to their living on small restricted islands and the lack of need for diet change, larger size, or higher BMR. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003; "Lubee Bat Conservancy", 2008)

  • Plant Foods
  • fruit

Predation

The only known predators of Pteropus pumilus are humans who hunt them for food and charms. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003)

  • Known Predators
    • Humans

Ecosystem Roles

Little golden-mantled flying foxes are one of the largest seed dispersers on the small Philippine islands on which it resides. They carry a large amount of seeds for considerable distances, often beyond their primary habitat. This also contributes to forest regeneration. More then 145 genera of plants on the Philippine islands depend on little golden-mantled flying foxes for pollination and seed dispersal. This species is also the only known seed disperser of Ceiba pentandra or the silk cotton tree. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003; "Lubee Bat Conservancy", 2008)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Little golden-mantled flying foxes are hunted for food. Humans also use the animal to make charms for jewelry and other goods. Because they are vital pollinators and seed dispersers, little golden-mantled flying foxes help maintain a thriving ecosystem on the Philippine islands. They have been the subject of many experiments and research projects to help educate the public about fruit bats, small island ecosystems, and the importance of conservation of small islands. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003; "Lubee Bat Conservancy", 2008; Tacud, 2003)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Little golden-mantled flying foxes are occasionally found on farms and are considered pests to farmers. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List classifies little golden-mantled flying foxes as near threatened due to habitat depletion, hunting for food and charms, and persecution for being crop pests. They are also affected by natural disasters like cyclones. They are listed on Appendix II by CITES. (Carino, et al., 2010)

Contributors

Abby Batz (author), University of Oregon, Stephen Frost (editor), University of Oregon, Gail McCormick (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.

Glossary

agricultural

living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

arboreal

Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

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.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

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.

external fertilization

fertilization takes place outside the female's body

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

food

A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.

frugivore

an animal that mainly eats fruit

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

island endemic

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

keystone species

a species whose presence or absence strongly affects populations of other species in that area such that the extirpation of the keystone species in an area will result in the ultimate extirpation of many more species in that area (Example: sea otter).

motile

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.

oriental

found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map

polygynous

having more than one female as a mate at one time

rainforest

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.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sexual

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

solitary

lives alone

tactile

uses touch to communicate

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

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

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

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

References

2009. Island Bats: evolution, ecology, and conservation. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

1994. Walker's Bats of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

2003. "Flying Foxes of the Philippines" (On-line). Lakbay Pilipinas. Accessed November 07, 2010 at www.lakbaypilipinas.com/flora_and_fauna/philippine-flying-foxes.html.

2008. "Lubee Bat Conservancy" (On-line). Accessed November 07, 2010 at http://www.batconservancy.org.

Carino, C., H. Pangunlatan, L. Ramala. 2010. "pteropus pumilus" (On-line). Accessed October 08, 2010 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/18753/0.

Reeder, D., N. Kosteczko, T. Kunz, E. Widmaier. 2006. The Hormonal and Behavioral Response to Group Formation, Seasonal Changes, and Restraint Stress in the Highly Social Malayan Flying Fox (pteropus vampyrus) and the Less Social Little Golden-Mantled Flying Fox (pteropus pumilus) (Chiroptera: pteropodidae). Hormones and Behavior, 49/4: 484-500. Accessed March 04, 2011 at http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/dreeder/Reeder%20et%20al%20Pteropus%20Hormones%20and%20Behavior.pdf.

Tacud, B. 2003. The Use of Olfaction in the Foraging Behaviour of the Golden-Mantled Flying Fox, Pteropus Pumilus and the Greater Musky Fruit Bat, Pternochirus Jagori (Mega Chiroptera: Pteropodidae). Die Naturwissenschaften, 90/2: 84-7.