The Action Plan for Australian Bats
Taxon summary: Spectacled Flying-fox
Scientific Name: Pteropus conspicillatus Gould, 1850
Common Name: Spectacled Flying-fox
Conservation Status: Lower Risk (near threatened)
(See Section 1.5 Disagreements about categories of threat)
Past range and abundance
Not known for certain but was thought to occur within and in the vicinity of the major rainforest tracts from Ingham to Cooktown in north-east Queensland, at Iron and McIlwraith Ranges on Cape York Peninsula and in Torres Strait. Extralimitally occurs in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Outliers at Chillagoe and Brisbane (Hall and Richards 1985, Richards 1990a). Anecdotal records of large camps but no documented overall count.
Present range and abundance
As above but no recent records from Ingham District and may also have declined between Cardwell and Tully (Richards 1990a). Census in April 1998 between Russell River and Rossville found about 153,000 individuals, including newly-independent juveniles (S.Garnett, O.Whybird & H.Spencer 1999).
Primarily rainforest, wet sclerophyll margins, coastal swamps, monsoon vine thickets and mangrove areas. Roosts are always found within 6 km of rainforest (Richards 1990b).
These include: habitat loss through large scale clearing of both coastal and upland habitats for sugar, grazing and urban development; electrocution and shooting of large numbers in orchards and at colonies; mortality due to paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus); disturbance at maternity colonies; death of unknown numbers on barbed-wire fences and powerlines; and high incidence of genetic disorders (cleft palate) (Les Hall pers. comm.).
- Validate methods for estimating population size and demographics.
- Develop and implement a population monitoring program.
- Seek funding from orchard industry and relevant government agencies to develop practical and cost effective non-destructive methods for on-crop control. (See also Recovery Outline for Pteropus poliocephalus).
- Contingent on the success of the above action, negotiate phasing out of lethal crop protection techniques.
- Determine the cause of the paralysis tick problem and develop control techniques.
- Determine efficacy of the care of orphans and their release to the wild as a technique for conservation management.
- Negotiate conservation agreements for regularly used colonies on private land.
Eggert C. 1994. Is tick paralysis in the spectacled flying-fox Pteropus conspicillatus related to a change in the foraging behaviour of P. conspicillatus. BSc. Honours Thesis, Faculty of Resource Science and Management, Southern Cross University (unpublished).
Garnett S.T., Whybird O. and Spencer H. 1999. The conservation status of Spectacled Flying Fox in Australia. Australian Zoologist in press.
Hall L.S. and Richards G.C. 1985. Bats of Chillagoe. Tower Karst 5.
Leu A. 1993. Birds and bats in orchards. Strategies to minimise damage to fruit crops and wildlife. Report prepared for the Queensland Department of Environment (unpublished).
McHold M. and Spencer H.J. In prep. Survey of attitudes of northern Queensland exotic fruit orchardist to flying-fox attack and methods of control.
Ratcliffe F.N. 1932. Notes on the fruit bats (Pteropus sp.) of Australia. Journal of Animal Ecology 1, 32–57.
Richards G.C. 1990a. The spectacled flying-fox, Pteropus conspicillatus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae), in North Queensland. I. Roost sites and distribution patterns. Australian Mammalogy 13, 17–24.
Richards G.C. 1990b. The spectacled flying-fox, Pteropus conspicillatus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae), in North Queensland. II. Diet, seed dispersal and feeding ecology. Australian Mammalogy 13, 25–31.
Authors for the species