Fruit Bats In Japan

At the present time there are two species of Fruit Bat in Japan. The Bonin Flying Fox (Pteropus pselaphon)is confined to the Bonin Islands. The Ryukyu Flying Fox(P.dasymallus)ranges from Kuchinoerabu Island to the southern end of the Yaeyama Islands. The Ryukyu Flying Foxes of Kuchinoerabu are one of the world's most northerly.

The Okinawa Flying Foxes(P.lochoensis) of Okinawa Island have not been seen since they were last caught in 1870 and are presumed extinct. Only two specimens now exist, in the British Museum.

Description of Species

1.Bonin Flying Fox (Pteropus pselaphon)

Pteropus pselaphonThis bat appears almost completely black except for sparse silver hairs. It has long fur. It has no pale collar. It is confined to the Bonin Islands.

2. Ryukyu Flying Fox (P.dasymallus). The body colour is mostly dark brown. A wide pale collar is present. There are five subspecies:

P.d.dasymallus is found on Kuchinoerabu Island and on the Tokara Islands in Kagoshima. It is definetely found on the Tokara Islands of Nakanoshima, Tairajima, Akusekijima and Takarajima. It was once reported from Kagoshima city and Okinoerab Island, but is no longer found there. The most northerly of the world's flying foxes, the Ryukyu Flying Fox of Kuchinoerabu, becomes less active in the low winter temperatures and is hard to see. It is the largest of the four Japanese subspecies .

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P.d.inopinatus is found on Okinawajima and nearby islands. The collar is sometimes interrupted by a dark longitudinal band in the middle of the throat.

P. d. inopinatusP. d. inopinatus

P.d.daitoensis is found on the Daito Islands. It has the brightest and widest collar of four Japanese subspecies.

P.d.daitoensisP.d.daitoensismale(left) female(right)

P.d.yayeyamae is found from Miyakojima to the westernmost of the Yaeyama Islands. It is definitely found on Taramajima, Ishigakijima, Kuroshima, Kohamajima, Iriomotejima, Hatomajima, Haterumajima, and Yonagunijima. It is the smallest of four Japanese subspecies, and sometimes has an interrupted collar as in P.d.inopinatus.

P. d. yayeyamaeP. d. yayeyamae

There is one other subspecies(P.d.formosus) which is found inTaiwan.

P. d. formosusP. d. formosus

Pteropus dasymallus also occurs on Batan Island, Dulpuri Island, and Fuga Island in the Philippines. Their taxonomic relationship is not clear.

Pteropus dasymallus in the PhilippinesPteropus dasymallus in the Philippines

The Okinawa Flying Fox(P.lochoensis),had a blackish body and a pale collar. It had short fur.