Spectacled flying-fox

© Bruce Thomson

Spectacled flying-foxes were first described in 1850 by Gould from a specimen collected on Fitzroy Island. They are important seed dispersers and pollinators of rainforest flora. Spectacled flying-foxes have the smallest known distribution and population of the four Australian mainland Pteropus flying-foxes.

Quick facts

Spectacled flying-fox

Pteropus conspicillatus


Spectacled fruit-bat



How we help flying-foxes

Every summer for more than 30 years, Wildlife Queensland’s Batty Boat Cruises have introduced thousands of people to the fascinating world of flying-foxes. This successful education initiative provides an opportunity for everyone to see flying-foxes in their natural habitat and learn why they are so important to our environment. Proceeds from the cruises fund bat conservation and support bat carers within Queensland.

Spectacled flying-fox© Bruce Thomson

Did you know?

Persecution by fruit-growers using electric grids to kill feeding flying-foxes in Far North Queensland was a major threat to the species in the early part of the 21st century. A series of court cases by conservationists demonstrated that the very existence of the species, and consequently the World Heritage Area Wet Tropics forests, was at risk. The cases set a legal precedent and resulted in electric grids being banned in Queensland.

Spectacled flying-fox© Paul Berridge

Threats to little spectacled flying-foxes

  • Habitat destruction through the large-scale clearing of coastal and upland habitats for sugar, grazing and urban development.
  • Mortality due to paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus).
  • Disturbance at maternity colonies.
  • Death of unknown numbers on barbed wire fences and powerlines.
  • Predators — dogs and cats.



Home range

  • Only travel 20-30 km from camp to feed.


  • Coastal Queensland from Tully to the tip of Cape York and islands in Torres Strait.
  • Spectacled flying-foxes are generally found in or around rainforests and sometimes in mangroves associated with black flying-foxes.


  • Spectacled flying-foxes have distinctive straw-coloured fur around the eyes which gives them their name.
  • Eye rings can sometimes be indistinct and they will look similar to black flying-foxes.
  • Pale fur on shoulders can vary between individuals.
  • Average weight 500-1000 g.
  • Head-body length 220-240 mm.


  • Tall rainforests, gallery forest, mangroves or paperbark forests.


Life history and behaviour

  • Little is known about the life span of spectacled flying-foxes in the wild but can live in captivity for 17 years.
  • Usually, roost in single-species camps.
  • Territorial and aggressive at rich food resources.
  • Forage only during the night.


  • Mating is common throughout the first half of the year but conception only in March-May, single young born October-December.
  • Mothers give birth upside down and carry the young for 3-4 weeks.
  • Older young stay at the camp until they start to fly.


  • Specialist fruit eater that feeds mostly on rainforest fruits, some eucalyptus nectar and pollen.
  • Disperses seeds of at least 26 species of rainforest canopy trees.

More information

Publications & papers

  • Hall, L. & Richards, R. (2000). Flying-foxes and fruit and blossom bats of Australia. Australian Natural History Series. UNSW Press.
  • Menkhorst, P. & Knight, F. (2004) A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press.

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