National recovery plan for the spectacled flying fox Pteropus conspicillatus

Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management

Summary

Current species status

The spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) is listed as 'Vulnerable' under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) includes general restrictions regarding moving of roosts that are relevant to genus Pteropus. However Pteropus conspicillatus is not listed under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Habitat and distribution summary

The spectacled flying fox feeds on fruits and blossom, primarily in the canopy vegetation of a wide range of vegetation communities, including closed forest, gallery forest, eucalypt open forest and woodland, Melaleuca thickets, coastal swamps, mangroves, vegetation in urban settings, and commercial fruit crops. These foraging activities result in dispersal of pollen and seeds, thereby contributing to the reproductive and evolutionary processes of species and ecological communities.

The species roosts in large aggregations, called camps or colonies, in the exposed branches of canopy trees. Throughout the year an unknown proportion of animals roost away from camps, either solitarily or in small groups.

Within Australia, the spectacled flying fox occurs in north-eastern Queensland, with the largest population known from the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area between Townsville and Cooktown (DEWHA 2009a). The location of camps on Cape York Peninsula is poorly known and no camps have been located on the islands of the Torres Strait. The spectacled flying fox also occurs on New Guinea and nearby islands (including Woodlark, Alcester, Kiriwana and Halmahera Islands), parts of Indonesia, and also the Solomon Islands (Duncan et al. 1999; Garnett et al. 1999 in DEWHA 2009a). The foraging range of the species is less well understood and further research will provide a better understanding of the foraging distribution of this bat. Telemetry and resource use results from the Wet Tropics indicate that foraging individuals range widely across the Wet Tropics bioregion and extensively into drier forests, including those to the west of the Wet Tropics Region.

Threats to species' survival

Known threats to the spectacled flying fox include loss of habitat, conflict with humans and/or man-made obstacles, entanglement in nets, illegal shooting, electrocution on powerlines, entanglement in barbed wire fencing and backyard drape netting, tick paralysis, genetic disorders (e.g. cleft palate syndrome), agricultural pesticide residue poisoning and vehicle-related mortality.

Recovery objectives

The overall objectives of recovery are to secure the long-term protection of the spectacled flying fox through a reduction in threats to the species' survival and to improve the availability of scientific information to guide recovery. This is the first national recovery plan for Pteropus conspicillatus.