Large Old World Fruit Bats on the Brink of Extinction: Causes and Consequences

Abstract

Large Old World fruit bats (LOWFBs), species of Pteropus, Acerodon, and related genera of large bats in the pteropodid subfamily Pteropodinae, play important roles as agents of dispersal and pollination across the Paleotropics. LOWFBs are also collectively the most threatened group of bats in the world, with 71% of extant species assessed as threatened by International Union for Conservation of Nature. As highlighted here, contrary to other bats, the vast majority of LOWFBs face multiple simultaneous threats. Most importantly, biological and ecological traits, in particular life history characteristics, diet, movement, social ecology, and physiology, intensify threats and accelerate species declines. Furthermore, we demonstrate that LOWFBs are to be considered keystone species and express concern about the erosion of this role and the cascading effects expected on native ecosystems. In response to this alarming situation, we advance general recommendations and identify overarching research and conservation actions.

Description

Copyright © 2023 by the author(s). cc-by

Keywords

climate change, flying fox, hunting, island conservation, keystone species, Pteropus

Citation

Kingston, T., Florens, F.B.V., & Vincenot, C.E.. 2023. Large Old World Fruit Bats on the Brink of Extinction: Causes and Consequences. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 54. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110321-055122

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