The Action Plan for Australian Bats
Taxon summary: Torresian Flying-fox
Scientific name: Pteropus sp. (Moa Island)
Common name: Torresian Flying-fox
Conservation status: Data Deficient
There has been considerable contention over the recognition of this taxon as being distinct from P. alecto (both are seasonally sympatric on Moa Island, Torres Strait). This putative new species was first distinguished by G.C. Richards and L.S. Hall based on morphology, being smaller in many characters, significantly different in cranial characters and having a different shaped baculum. Preliminary DNA analysis shows the closest affinity to P. alecto compared to the other Pteropus species (J. Pettigrew pers. comm.). A paper describing the new species has been prepared and is currently being revised (Richards and Hall in prep.). The June 1996 workshop discussed this issue at length and finally agreed, by majority, to include it on the list. Subsequently, the specimens used in the Richards and Hall study were re-examined and those specimens previously assigned to the new ‘species’ were judged to be either juvenile or neotenous P. alecto (Coles 1997, Tidemann 1997). Richards and Hall (pers. comm.) reject these findings on the basis that one of the holotypes was a lactating adult female with a large young. This issue remains unresolved. Resolution of the taxonomic status of this species is a precursor to allocation of further funding for conservation.
- Resolve taxonomic status.
- If a valid taxon determine conservation status.
Coles R. 1997. Comments on the status of Pteropus sp. nov., collected by G.C. Richards and L.S. Hall on Moa Island. Submission to Environment Australia, Canberra (unpublished).
Richards G.C. and Hall L.S. In prep. A new flying-fox of the genus Pteropus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) from Torres Strait Australia.
Richards G.C. 1995. Torresian flying-fox Pteropus sp. pp. 443–444 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Tidemann C. 1997. ‘Pteropus banakrisi’: a putative new species from Moa Island, Torres Strait. Submission to Environment Australia, Canberra (unpublished).
Authors for the species
The Editorial Panel