One two three - Batty Batty Bat!

Hi there. I hope that some of you enjoyed collecting Flindersia sp. seed-pods over Christmas. Those of you that did would have noticed the large amount of flowers on the Flindersia trees and possibly the red flowers of the Blackbean (Castospermum australe) trees. If you look at those now some might be beginning to form fruit.

How does this happen?

These trees, like many others, are pollinated (necessary for seed/ fruit formation) by bats. Bats are flying mammals. Flying-foxes are members of the Pteropididae or fruit bat family. They have the largest body size of all bats. They have large eyes that help them to see colours at night. This makes finding their favourite foods easy. Their main diet is nectar and fruits. They will also take pollen and help to cross-pollinate flowers as they feed.

Flying foxes play a major role in the regeneration of woodlands and rainforests because they disperse seeds as they move throughout the forest. Bats also help many tree species to provide a variety of products of economic value to humans. For example, Spectacled flying-foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) are important pollinators of Black-bean trees, one of Australia's most important timber resources.

In the Wet Tropics the Spectacled flying-fox, (Pteropus conspicillatus) which boasts a wingspan of roughly one metre, potentially faces extinction. This is due to loss of their prime feeding habitat and roost sites. The reproductive characteristics of this species also make it difficult for them to deal with such a significant loss of their habitat. They only have one young per year, it takes a long time for them to become sexually mature, and the average life span is 4 years. They also suffer a high rate of infant mortality. A good place to see these impressive bats rise up from the canopy is the Tolga Scrub and the Daintree River. They are easily disturbed by people, so the best time to watch them is as they fly out at dusk.



Try and find out more about Native Australian flying foxes.

Why is the Spectacled Flying fox unique?

How many other species are there in Australia?

What do they do for the forests and animals where they live?

What do they help to provide to us?

Go to www.tolgabathospital.org and find out about Tolga Bat Hospital as well as access links to other bat sites.

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