giant golden-crowned flying fox species

Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox

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The Giant Golden-Crowned, Flying Fox, also recognized as the ‘Golden-capped Fruit Bat’, is one of the giant species of bats in the world that are discovered only in the Philippines. With their vast, tall size, they fall under the group ‘megabat’ and are one of the unique bats in the world.

As a result, they face a severe threat of extinction and require quick and proper conservation. Other than poaching, habitat loss is also one of the essential factors for their present-day population crisis.

Content overview

Description

Characteristics

Appearance

Behavior

Habitat

Diet

Conservation

Predators, Threats and disease

Interesting Facts

Description

The giant golden-crowned flying fox was defined as a new species in 1831 by German naturalist Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz. Eschscholtz placed it in the genus Pteropus with the scientific name of Pteropus jubatus. Its species name “jubatus” is Latin, meaning “having a man or crested”.

As of 2005, three subspecies of the giant golden-crowned flying fox are recognized:

  1. jubatus jubatus (Eschscholtz, 1831)
  2. jubatus mindanensis (K. Andersen, 1909)
  3. jubatus lucifer (Elliot, 1896)

Characteristics

Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Chiroptera
  • Family: Pteropodidae
  • Genus: Acerodon
  • Scientific Name: Acerodon jubatus

Golden-Crowned Flying Fox Physical Characteristics

  • Colour: Black, Gold
  • Skin Type: Hair
  • Lifespan: 12-23 years
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Height: 7 and 11.4 inches
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: 2 years for females
  • Wingspan: 1.5-1.7 M

Golden-Crowned Flying Fox Facts

  • Name Of Young: Pup
  • Group Name:  cloud, colony, flock
  • Fun Fact: They eat figs almost exclusively
  • Estimated Population Size: 10,000 – 20,000
  • Biggest Threat: Human hunters
  • Most Distinctive Feature: Soft golden cap
  • Litter Size: One
  • Habitat: Caves and forests
  • Predators: Reticulated pythons, eagles, humans
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Favorite Food: Figs, leaves, some other fruits
  • Common Name: Golden crowned flying fox
  • Group: They live in large gatherings in the woods

Appearance

Size: The wingspan length of these bats can be anything between 1.5 – 1.7 meters. Their head and body height vary between 178 and 290 mm.

Weight: Not much heavy in proportion to their size, weighing only between 0.7 and 1.2 kg.

Body Color: The golden cap, along with an orangish-yellow part at the back of their neck, contrasts with brownish-black fur on the rest of the head and reddish-brown fur on the back.

Wings: Wings are enormous and hold forearms that vary between 125 and 203 mm.

Eyes: Eyes are enormous, very much like a dog or a fox with a face of its size.

Tail: No tail like all other species of fruit bats.

Behavior

These giant bats are mainly nocturnal, capable of traveling more than 40 km in one night, hunting for foraging. They utilize various sorts of food and then separate the seeds through their feces, supporting many fruit trees in the Philippines. Thus, they serve as natural pollinators and perform an essential task in the ecosystem.

One of the primary behavioral features is that it supports them to keep warm and evade predators. However, this behavior of roosting also makes it obvious to hunt down these animals. They are also identified to settle with different varieties of bats, the Malayan Flying Foxes. Like other bats, they hang upside down while sleeping.

These creatures consume a pretty good amount of time constantly on personal care and grooming. They utilize water to groom themselves, and while doing so, they display exciting behavior. They accept their large wings to scoop water from ponds or nearby water bodies and flattened it all over themselves.

Habitat

The giant golden-crowned flying fox lives typically in the Philippines. They don’t appear anywhere else in the world. They live in deep caves and the rainforest along or near waterways. They may live on one island and transfer to another island forage, flying a great distance each time.

These creatures typically follow the river routes, making researchers understand that this is because of abundant foods along with the areas. These mammals hang upside down from the trees of the rainforest and in the deep caves.

Diet

Many of what the golden-crowned flying fox eats is figs, but they will also eat leaves of different types when figs aren’t possible or when the figs are thin. They may also utilize topical fruits such as lamio, tangisang, puhutan, bankal, bayawak, and strangler figs.

These bats are frugivorous; that is, they essentially live upon fruits. Therefore, it contains all varieties of natural or cultivated fruits obtainable locally, including papaya, lamio, etc., but figs are their favorite.

Conservation

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified the giant golden-crowned flying fox as endangered in 2016 after the animal population decreased by a huge 50 percent from 1986 to 2016.

The Giant Golden-Crowned Flying-Fox is an endangered species with a diminishing community and on the verge of extinction. Sadly, hunting it for bushmeat proceeds to drive the golden-crowned flying fox population down. In addition, hunters shoot these animals out of their roosts, wounding them as needed, as several who are killed don’t even fall from the trees.

Predators, Threats and disease

The golden-crowned flying fox is preyed upon by various predators, including reticulated pythons, eagles, and humans. In addition, several of the golden-crowned flying foxes have been killed by human hunters to give bushmeat to other humans.

The giant golden-crowned flying fox has been examined as a cause of emerging infectious conditions. For example, one study tested for the appearance of Reston virus, a sort of Ebolavirus that concerns few primates though not humans, in a population of giant golden-crowned flying foxes at Subic Bay.

Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox.

  • This Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox is the biggest bat in the world.
  • It gets the name ‘golden-crowned flying fox’ from its head’s golden-brown fur and its strange similarity to the foxes.
  • The wings of these bats are enormous that they are seldom seen utilizing them to wrap their bodies like a cloak.
  • This bat contributes to the reseeding of the forest by spreading seeds.
  • The golden-crowned flying fox consumes a variety of leaves along with the figs.
  • One variety of the golden-crowned flying fox is mostly extinct.

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