Ryukyu flying fox
|Ryukyu flying fox|
|Stuffed specimen of Pteropus dasymallus at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, Japan|
|Ryukyu flying fox range|
The Ryukyu flying fox or Ryukyu fruit bat (Pteropus dasymallus) is a species of megabat in the Pteropodidae family. It is found in Japan, Taiwan, and the Batanes and Babuyan Islands of the Philippines. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical swamps. It is threatened by habitat loss and by hunting for food and the IUCN classify it as "Near Threatened".
Distribution and habitat
The Ryukyu flying fox is native to Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines. In Japan it is found on the Osumi Islands, Tokara Islands, Okinawa Islands, Miyako Islands, Yaeyama Islands and Daito Islands. In the Philippines it is present in Batan, Dalupiri and Fuga. Its habitat is forests where it roosts during the day in trees, singly or in small groups. It feeds on the fruit and flowers of trees including introduced species and those grown as crops.
The five subspecies are:
- Daito fruit bat - P. d. daitoensis
- Erabu fruit bat - P. d. dasymallus
- Taiwanese fruit bat - P. d. formosus
- Orii's fruit bat - P. d. inopinatus
- Yaeyama fruit bat - P. d. yayeyamae
The largest population of these bats is probably on the Philippines and is thought to be stable. In Japan there are estimated to be well over five thousand individuals but in Taiwan, there has been a large reduction in bat numbers. This species faces a number of threats. Some populations in the Philippines are hunted for consumption and this bat is considered a delicacy on Babuyan Claro. In Japan, habitat loss is the main threat but some individuals get entangled in nets placed to protect citrus crops and others are electrocuted by power-lines. Overall, most populations have been in decline though this seemed to have levelled off to some extent by 2008 when the IUCN removed this bat from the "Endangered" category and placed it in the "Near Threatened" category.
- Heaney, L., Rosell-Ambal, G., Tabaranza, B., Izawa, M. (2008). "Pteropus dasymallus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
- Putz, B. 2000. "Pteropus dasymallus" Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 16, 2010 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pteropus_dasymallus.html.