Insectivory in Fijian flying foxes (Pteropodidae)

Annette T. Scanlon, Sophie Petit, Leonel Da S. Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We used scat and isotope analyses to assess insectivory in Fijian flying foxes (Pteropodidae), seeking insights into niche partitioning of co-occurring bat species with high plant diet overlap. Moth scales were most common in scats of Notopteris macdonaldi (87%; P. tonganus: 62%; Pteropus samoensis: 36%) and may indicate shared resources. The small and highly manoeuvrable N. macdonaldi exploited nectar-rich flowers also favoured by moths (e.g. Barringtonia spp.). Other invertebrate remains were most frequent in scats of P. tonganus (69%). On the basis of scat results and ecological observations, P. tonganus uses a combination of insectivory and a highly varied plant diet to obtain sufficient nutrients. Scats of P. samoensis contained few invertebrate remains, but abundant protein-rich plant species (including Freycinetia spp.), and juveniles seemed to consume moths frequently. Clustered δ15N and δ13C for N. macdonaldi and P. samoensis indicated a narrower dietary breadth than that of P. tonganus. P. tonganus juveniles appeared at a significantly higher trophic level than did adults, probably the result of milk consumption and/or higher rates of protein synthesis. The methods used detected little evidence that bats partitioned resources vertically. This study generates hypotheses for the further examination of flying-fox diets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 28 2013


  • insect diet
  • nitrogen fractionation
  • Pacific Islands
  • pollen diet.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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