Indian flying fox

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Indian flying fox
Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus) Kolkata West Bengal India 27042013.png
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Pteropodidae
Genus: Pteropus
Species: P. giganteus
Binomial name
Pteropus giganteus
(Brünnich, 1782)
Indian Flying Fox area.png
Indian flying fox range

The Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus), also known as the greater Indian fruit bat, is a species of flying fox in the Pteropodidae family. It is nocturnal and feeds mainly on ripe fruits, such as mangoes and bananas, and nectar.


The Indian flying fox lives in rain forests and swamps, where a large body of water is nearby.[2] It is found in Bangladesh, China, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

A colony at Kolkata Zoo


Known as මා වවුලා (maa wawula) in Sinhala.


The Indian flying fox is frugivorous or nectarivorous, i.e., they eat fruits or lick nectar from flowers. At dusk, these bats forage for ripe fruit. While ingesting fruit, these bats expel waste that pollinates and disperse seeds.


Mating System:

 Polygynandrous (promiscuous) 

Pteropus giganteus breeds yearly. Breeding season occurs from July to October, and births occur from February to May. Gestation period is typically 140 to 150 days. The average birth number is 1 to 2 young. With members of the genus Pteropus, the young are carried by the mother for the first few weeks of life, learn to fly at 11 months of age, and weaning occurs generally around 5 months of age. Reproductive maturity occurs at 1.5 years. Males do not participate in parental care.


Natural reservoirs of disease[edit]

Like other fruit bats, the Indian flying fox has been found to act as a natural reservoir for a number of diseases including the Ebola virus, rabies, and coronaviruses. These can prove fatal to humans and domestic animals.[4][5] Researchers tested fruit bats for the presence of the Ebola virus in Africa between 2001 and 2003. Three African species of bats tested positive for Ebola, but had no symptoms of the virus.[4] This indicates the bats may be acting as a reservoir for the virus. Of the infected animals identified during these field collections, immunoglobulin G (IgG) specific for Ebola virus was detected in Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti, and Myonycteris torquata.[6]

Fruit bats are considered a delicacy by South Pacific Islanders as well as in Micronesia where, on the island of Guam, consumption has been suggested as a possible cause of Lytico-Bodig disease.[7]


  1. ^ Molur, S., Srinivasulu, C., Bates, P. & Francis, C. (2008). Pteropus giganteus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
  2. ^ Old World Fruit Bats: Pteropodidae – Indian Flying Fox (pteropus Giganteus): Species Accounts – Foxes, Trees, Sites, and Pakistan – JRank Articles. Retrieved on 2012-12-29.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b National Geographic, October 2007. "Deadly Contact," David Quammen, pp. 78-105.
  5. ^ McLaughlin AB, Epstein JH, Prakash V, Smith CS, Daszak P, Field HE, Cunningham AA.Plasma biochemistry and hematologic values for wild-caught flying foxes (Pteropus giganteus) in India.J Zoo Wildl Med. 2007 Sep;38(3):446-52.
  6. ^ "Deadly Marburg virus discovered in fruit bats". msnbc. August 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  7. ^ Monson, C. S.; Banack, S. A.; Cox, P. A. (2003). "Conservation implications of Chamorro consumption of flying foxes as a possible cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-parkinsonism dementia complex in Guam". Conservation Biology 17 (3): 678–686. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.02049.x. 

External links[edit]