Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ella Bay’s Spectacular Spectacled Flying Fox

Ella Bay is home to the spectacled flying fox Pteropus conspicillatus.

(Photo by Shek Graham)

This rainforest dependent species feeds on nectar, pollen and fruits. It has received vulnerable status due to a ‘loss of prime feeding habitat and secluded campsites’ according to Wikipedia.

Sort of reminds me of a big rainforest dependent bird species that lives at Ella Bay…begins with a c and ends with a y. Hint
Between 1985 and 2000 spectacles flying fox populations plummeted from an estimated 820,000 to 80,000 (McIlwee and Martin 2002). According to the DEH their population dropped by 35% between 1998 and 2000.
Of course Satori’s environmental consultants BAAM have observed this species at Ella Bay and noticed a large spectacled flying fox camp in Innisfail approximately 7km away.
Like the cassowary, spectacled flying foxes are important to Ella Bay due to their tree pollinating and seed dispersal ability.
Quandong fruit at Ella Bay: Flying Fox food

Spectacled flying foxes can disperse seed up to 20 km away from its parent tree (Churchill 2009).
I have recently read that a single spectacled flying fox can dispense 60,000 seeds in a single night!
Cluster fig at Ella Bay: Flying Fox food.

The loss of this species would have a major detrimental impact on World Heritage rainforest in our Wet Tropics due to the cessation of their seed dispersal and pollinating activity.
Wild mango at Ella Bay: Flying Fox food

Any action which destroys their habitat or food trees such as Satori’s proposed road/rainforest clearing is unacceptable. These spectacled denizens of the dark help maintain healthy habit for all the wildlife at Ella Bay.

One last interesting bat fact. The spectacle flying fox has been shown to have the greatest tolerance of any mammal to different temperature ranges. It can endure ranges from 0 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius with little change to its metabolic rate (Richards and Spencer 1998). Ok it’s a little off topic but too interesting not to share!


  1. I love your blog Russell... thanks for caring so much about our beautiful treasure 'Ella Bay'. We were also blessed to be able to capture a couple of 'agile wallabies' on our camera the other morning (I noticed you have some photos of these too!) Aren't they gorgeous?

    Will be back!

  2. Thanks Pearls
    great to meet another local who cares about Ella Bay!Agiles are pretty neat and are quite common at Ella Bay.I have seen them swim in the ocean there!

  3. nice opinion.. thanks for sharing....


Related Posts with Thumbnails