Pteropus scapulatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Pteropus scapulatus Peters, 1862
Common Name(s):
English Little Red Flying Fox
Spanish Zorro Volador de Queensland

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-10-25
Assessor(s): Eby, P. & Roberts, B.
Reviewer(s): Mildenstein, T.
Contributor(s): Whybird, O., McKenzie, N. & Lavery, T.H.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats and large population. Its nomadic habit over much of its range precludes effective monitoring, and trends in population and distribution are unknown.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in northern and eastern Australia and occurs on various islands in the Torres Strait including Thursday, Horn, Badu, Hammond and Muralag (Helgen 2004, Birt et al. 2008, Lavery et al. 2011, T. Lavery pers. comm.). There are vagrant sighting in South Australia (Birt et al. 2008, T. Reardon pers comm.) and New Zealand c. 1927 (Daniel 1975). Historical records from Western Province, Papua New Guinea c. 1972 have not been confirmed and are presumed extralimital (Waithman 1979, Lavery et al. 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is a common species.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Feeding and roosting habitats include sclerophyll woodland, paperbark swamp forest, mangroves, bamboo, and occasionally orchards or ornamental trees (Vardon et al. 2001, Birt et al. 2008, M. Pennay pers. comm.). Observational and morphological evidence indicates P. scapulatus is highly nectarivorous and rarely uses fruit food resources (Birt 2004, Southerton et al. 2008). Colonies form near ephemeral flowerings of Eucalyptus and Melaleuca spp., aggregations of hundreds of thousands are associated with heavy flowering of preferred species (Ratcliffe 1932, Birt 2004, Southerton et al. 2008). It is believed to prefer foraging in native vegetation to urban plantings (Chamberlin 2008).

Pteropus scapulatus is a highly mobile, largely nomadic species. There is evidence of seasonal use of parts of tropical Queensland and Northern Territory, and infrequent, irregular presence in the south. Satellite telemetry studies found individuals moved several hundred kilometres between successive roost sites (C. Palmer pers. comm., H. Field pers. comm.). Birt (2004) found distances travelled from roosts to initial foraging areas ranged from 4 km to 23.5 km. Some individuals used multiple foraging areas per night moving 0.5 km to 24 km between successive sites. Viable pollen is carried on their fur, generating diverse and widespread patterns of pollen dispersal.

Local populations can experience periods of nutritional stress indicated by low body weights, poor body conditions, observations of diurnal feeding and reduced reproduction (Plowright et al. 2008). The extent and incidence of these events are unknown.

Reproduction is synchronous throughout the range. After a gestation period of approximately six months, females give birth to a single young in April-May, and the lactation period lasts three to five months (Martin et al. 1996).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted for its meat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats to this species. It is locally threatened in parts of its range by loss and modification of feeding and roosting habitat for agriculture, urban development and commercial forestry. The species occasionally damages fruit crops, although it is not considered a serious pest (Birt et al. 2008), and animals are killed under licence in Queensland and New South Wales as a crop protection measure. Levels of illegal killing are unknown. Additional threats with unknown impacts on the species include: electrocution on powerlines, entanglement in barbed wire and netting, persecution and dispersal of colonies and removal of vegetation at roosting sites, the impacts of climate change and severe weather including cyclones and droughts on the phenology and productivity of diet plants, and mortality from Australian Bat Lysssavirus.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It is present in some protected areas on an irregular basis. Roost sites in urban areas in Australia are becoming more common and urban gardens may serve as alternative habitat in times of reduced flowering in native vegetation. Persecution of the species has increased with the discovery of zoonoses and with public concerns about smell and noise associated with large colonies near dwellings.

Citation: Eby, P. & Roberts, B. 2016. Pteropus scapulatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18758A22087637. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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