There are many different types of fruit bats, and they can be found in tropical regions all over the world. Some are called flying foxes or megabats because they’re so big. Some fruit bats are really small and called microbats. No matter what size, these amazing flying mammals are very important to local ecosystems. They help to pollinate plants and disperse seeds.
14 Types of Fruit Bats
Fruit bats are found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world where fruit is grown. Flying foxes are some of the largest fruit bats. Keep reading to learn more about different types of fruit bats.
1. Large Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus vampyrus
The large flying fox is often referred to as the large fruit bat or Malaysian flying fox. They live on islands in southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, where they feed on nectar, flowers, and fruit.
Large flying foxes are one of the largest bats, weighing almost 2.5 pounds. They also have a wingspan of almost 5 feet and their body is about 12 inches in length.
2. Rodrigues Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus rodricensis
Rodrigues flying fox is endemic to the tiny island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean. However, captive colonies live in zoos in the United States and Europe. They live in large social groups.
Rodrigues flying foxes are small fruit bats that weigh about 350 grams and their wingspan measures about 90 centimeters. They’re diet consists of fruits like mangos, figs, and tamarinds.
3. Gray-headed Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus poliocephalus
Native to the continent, the grey-headed flying fox is the largest bat in Australia. It’s found in forests on the southeastern coast. Their wingspan can measure over 3 feet, and they can weigh over 2 pounds.
Gray-headed flying foxes have a light gray head and a dark colored body with a distinctive reddish-brown fur collar. They feed on native nectar and fruits.
4. Mariana Fruit Bat
Scientific name: Pteropus mariannus
Mariana fruit bats are only found in the south Pacific Ocean on the Mariana Islands and Ulithi in the Caroline Islands. They are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mariana fruit bats weigh between a half to one pound so they’re considered a medium-sized bat. Their wingspan measures 25 to 28 inches. The Marianna fruit bat is dark brown with a golden fur collar around their neck.
5. Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox
Scientific name: Acerodon jubatus
Also called the golden-capped fruit bat, this flying fox is found in the Philippines and considered an endangered species. They are one of the heaviest bats weighing over 3 pounds. Their wingspan can reach up to 5.6 feet.
Golden-crowned flying foxes get their name from the golden fur that caps their head and extends to their shoulders. Their favorite foods are different kinds of figs and leaves.
6. Little Red Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus scapulatus
The little red flying fox is the smallest species of fruit bat in Australia. It’s found in the northern and eastern parts of the country.
The wingspan of the little red flying fox measures from 120 to 150 millimeters. They only weigh an average of 450 grams. They are dark colored with reddish brown fur and light yellow or cream colors on their shoulders.
7. Madagascan Fruit Bat
Scientific name: Eidolon dupreanum
This fruit bat is the largest bat in Madagascar and endemic to the island. They feed on nectar and fruits like fig and guava. Another favorite food is eucalyptus flowers.
Madagascan fruit bats have a wingspan of 3 to 4 feet and weigh over 1.5 pounds. They are dark brown colored with golden fur on their shoulders and chest.
8. Egyptian Fruit Bat
Scientific name: Rousettus aegyptiacus
Egyptian fruit bats live in colonies of thousands from the Meditteranean to India, including Africa and the Middle East. Commercial farmers in those regions consider them a pest because the bats feed on fruit crops.
The Egyptian fruit bat has a wingspan of around 24 inches and only weighs about 6 ounces. They’re dark brown or gray in color with light brown on their underside and around their neck.
9. Straw-colored Fruit Bat
Scientific name: Eidolon helvum
Straw-colored fruit bats live in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula. They can roost in massive colonies of up to a million individuals.
Straw-colored fruit bats have a wingspan that measures up to 30 inches and on average they weigh about 12 ounces. They get their name from their yellow-colored fur on the necks and back. The bat’s wings are dark brown and underside is lighter brown.
10. Indian Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus giganteus
Also called the greater Indian fruit bat, this bat is found on the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the largest bats in the world with a wingspan of almost 5 feet. They can weigh between 3 and 4 pounds.
Indian flying foxes feed on fruits like bananas and mangoes. They can be really destructive when it comes to commercial fruit farms and are considered a pest.
11. Palawan Fruit Bat
Scientific name: Acerodon leucotis
The Palawan fruit bat lives in the Palawan forests in the Phillipines. They have a wingspan of around 5 to 6 inches. These bats are not seen very often because they don’t roost in large colonies like other fruit bats.
Palawan fruit bats have dark reddish-brown colored fur. Their wings and head are darker colored.
12. Jamaican Fruit Bat
Scientific name: Artibeus jamaicensis
The Jamaican fruit bat is also commonly known as the Mexican fruit bat. They are found in Mexico, Central America, northern South America, as well as islands in the Caribbean.
These fruit bats have a wingspan of 4 to 6 inches and weigh an average of 2 ounces. They are brown or gray in color and have a distinctive pointed noseleaf. Their favorite fruit are figs.
13. Samoa Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus samoensis
The Samoa flying fox is found in Samoa and Fiji. They’re often found near fruit plantations and villages so they’re not as hidden as some of their other relatives around the world.
Samoa flying foxes have dark brown wings and head with a reddish brown body. They are medium-sized and their wingspan measures 2 feet 10 inches on average.
14. Black Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus alecto
The black flying fox is native to Papua-New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia. It’s one of the largest bats in the world and has a wingspan of over 3 feet.
As their name suggests, they are mostly solid black in color and occasionally have some reddish brown tint. They live in rainforests, bamboo forests, and swamps, and feed on commercially grown fruit, eucalyptus nectar, and other native trees.