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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
The home range of little golden-mantled flying foxes is currently unknown. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Little golden-mantled flying foxes are occasionally found on farms and are considered pests to farmers. ("Flying Foxes of the Philippines", 2003)
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)
Abby Batz (author), University of Oregon, Stephen Frost (editor), University of Oregon, Gail McCormick (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
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.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
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.
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
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).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
having more than one female as a mate at one time
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 forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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.