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Pteropus poliocephalus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CHIROPTERA PTEROPODIDAE

Scientific Name: Pteropus poliocephalus
Species Authority: Temminck, 1825
Common Name(s):
English Grey-headed Flying Fox, Gray-headed Flying Fox, Grey-headed Flying-fox
Spanish Zorro Volador De Cabeza Gris

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2ace ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Lunney, D., Richards, G. & Dickman, C.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team), Racey, P.A., Medellín, R. & Hutson, A.M. (Chiroptera Red List Authority)
Justification:
Listed as Vulnerable because of a continuing population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations, inferred from direct observations, shrinkage in distribution and loss of overwintering foraging habitat, and probable competition and hybridisation with P. alecto.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to eastern Australia, where it ranges from south-eastern Queensland, through eastern New South Wales to Victoria. There has been a contraction of the northern extent of the range in recent years (by 500 km in past 100 years), and an increase in the numbers in the south, with increasing permanent colonies (L. Lumsden pers. comm.).
Countries:
Native:
Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is common in suitable habitat, but its habitat is limited (Tidemann et al. 2008). The population is declining throughout the range except in Victoria where the species is increasing in numbers (L. Lumsden pers. comm.). Surveys across the range showed declines of over 30% since 1990, and these declines were predicted continue in the future due to habitat loss (Eby and Lunney 2006).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in tropical moist forest, open forest, closed and open woodlands, Melaleuca swamps, Banksia woodlands, mangroves, and commercial fruit plantations. It also occurs in urban areas where suitable foraging and roosting habitat are available. The primary food source are the flowers of Eucalyptus, Banksia, Melaleuca species, plus rainforest fruits. It roosts in colonies in patches of trees and dense vegetation. Females generally give birth to a single young (Duncan et al. 1999; D. Lunney pers. comm.). Generation length is likely to be around six or seven years (A. Divljan pers. comm.).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by loss of foraging and roosting habitat, largely through clearance of native vegetation for agriculture and forestry operations plus urban development (Duncan et al. 1999). The species requires multiple, dispersed populations of food trees (Duncan et al. 1999). The winter and early spring range of this species is limited to a narrow-coastal strip in Queensland and New South Wales that is targeted for residential development, and this is the primary threat (Duncan et al. 1999; Eby and Lunney 2002).

It is a pest of commercial fruit trees in parts of its range and animals are directly killed under license in orchards in New South Wales and Queensland; there is also likely to be unlicensed killing (Duncan et al. 1999; Tidemann et al. 2008; D. Lunney pers. comm.). The species is believed to be threatened by competition and hybridisation with Pteropus alecto, which has expanded southward at the same time as the range of P. poliocephalus has been reduced in the north (Duncan et al. 1999; G. Richards pers. comm.). The rapid rate of expansion range extension by P. alecto (by 500 km from 1990 to 2006) is of particular concern (P. Eby pers. comm.). It is additionally threatened by pollutants in urban areas and potentially by a number of viral pathogens (Duncan et al. 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It is present within a number of protected areas, however, none of these contain all of the conditions needed to maintain viable populations (Duncan et al. 1999). Further studies are needed into the population status and trends of this species, demographics, and population structure, in order to understand movement patterns (notably for recolonisation), define habitat requirements relative to protected areas (especially in winter/spring habitat), and to develop cost-effective methods of protecting fruit crops from this species (Duncan et al. 1999). The species breeds well in captivity (Strahan 1995). Education is needed to reduce negative public attitudes to this species. There is also a need for an assessment and reduction of any threats from power lines, barbed wire fences, and netting. There is a draft Recovery Plan for this species (Eby and Lunney 2006).

Bibliography [top]

Duncan, A., Baker, G. B. and Montgomery, N. 1999. The Action Plan for Australian Bats. Environment Australia, Canberra, Australia.

Eby, P. and Lunney, D. 2002. Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox as a threatened species in New South Wales: adjusting to a long-term vision. In: P. Eby and D. Lunney (eds), Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox as a Threatened Species in New South Wales, pp. 273-284. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, New South Wales.

Eby, P. and Lunney, D. 2006. Recovery Plan for the Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus. New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Mickleburgh, S. P., Hutson, A. M. and Racey, P. A. 1992. Old World Fruit-Bats - An Action Plan for their Conservation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Tidemann, C. R., Eby, P., Parry-Jones, K. A. and Nelson, J. E. 2008. Grey-headed Flying-fox, Pteropus poliocephalus. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 444-445. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.


Citation: Lunney, D., Richards, G. & Dickman, C. 2008. Pteropus poliocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 September 2014.
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