Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Small flying fox

Pteropus hypomelanus, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1853

The small flying fox, island flying fox or variable flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) is a species of flying fox in the Pteropodidae family. It is found in Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.


The small flying fox is quite variable in its colouring. The head is usually dark brown but can be yellowish-brown and is paler in the eastern part of the animal's range. The back is tawny-brown and the underparts some shade of buff. The ears are partially furred and the wing membranes are black. The fur is short on the back and medium-length on the underparts. This bat can be distinguished from the rather similar Ryukyu flying fox (Pteropus dasymallus) by the fact that its tibia are bare rather than covered with fur.

Distribution and habitat

The small flying fox is native to islands in the Indo-Pacific region. Its range includes the Maldives, the Andaman Islands, the Nicobar Islands, Melanesia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It is found at altitudes of up to about 900 m. In many parts of its range it roosts in small outlying islands and flies to larger bodies of land to forage at night.


Small flying foxes feed mostly on the fruit of native and introduced trees but also consume flowers and nectar. The diet includes pawpaws, mangos, jambul, bananas, figs, flowers of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra) and the banyan, tree and flowers and fruits of cultivated crops. They consume about half their body weight each day.

These bats become sexually mature at about one year of age. The breeding season varies according to location and the gestation period is about 200 days. A single pup is born which is weaned at about six weeks but remains dependant on its mother for a further four months or so.


The small flying fox is rated as being of "Least Concern" by the IUCN. It has a wide range and is generally abundant and faces no major threats as a whole. In some areas it is threatened by deforestation and tourism-related activities and in the Philippines and elsewhere it is hunted for food. It is also regarded as a pest by farmers whose crops are raided.

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Scientific classification

Pteropus hypomelanus

Common names

  • English:
    • Island flying fox
    • Small flying fox
    • Variable flying-fox
    • Variable flying fox
  • Spanish: Zorro volador pequeño


  • Pteropus maris, Glover Morrill Allen (1936)
  • Pteropus simalurus, Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas (1923)
  • Pteropus fretensis, Cecil Boden Kloss (1916)
  • Pteropus vulcanius, Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas (1915)
  • Pteropus robinsoni, Knud Christian Andersen (1909)
  • Pteropus satyrus, Knud Christian Andersen (1908)
  • Pteropus luteus, Knud Christian Andersen (1908)
  • Pteropus canus, Knud Christian Andersen (1908)
  • Pteropus annectens, Knud Christian Andersen (1908)
  • Pteropus enganus, Gerrit Smith Miller, Jr (1906)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Pteropus hypomelanus
Small flying fox distribution

Range Map

Distribution map of Small flying fox, Pteropus hypomelanus in Thailand
  • Ko Chang District, Trat
  • Phi Phi Islands
  • Similan Islands
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
Range map of Pteropus hypomelanus in Thailand