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Pteropus (suborder Yinpterochiroptera) is a genus of megabats which are among the largest bats in the world. They are commonly known as fruit bats or flying foxes, among other colloquial names. They live in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, East Africa, and some oceanic islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.[3] There are at least 60 extant species in the genus.[4]

Quick facts: Flying fox Temporal range Holocene[1] PreꞒ ...
Flying fox
Temporal range: Holocene[1]
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) at a bat rescue
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Pteropodidae
Subfamily: Pteropodinae
Genus: Pteropus
Brisson, 1762
Type species
Vespertilio vampyrus niger[2]
Kerr, 1792
Worldwide distribution of flying foxes

Flying foxes eat fruit and other plant matter, and occasionally consume insects as well. They locate resources with their keen sense of smell. Most, but not all, are nocturnal. They navigate with keen eyesight, as they cannot echolocate. They have long life spans and low reproductive outputs, with females of most species producing only one offspring per year. Their slow life history makes their populations vulnerable to threats such as overhunting, culling, and natural disasters. Six flying fox species have been made extinct in modern times by overhunting. Flying foxes are often persecuted for their real or perceived role in damaging crops. They are ecologically beneficial by assisting in the regeneration of forests via seed dispersal. They benefit ecosystems and human interests by pollinating plants.

Like other bats, flying foxes are relevant to humans as a source of disease, as they are the reservoirs of rare but fatal disease agents including Australian bat lyssavirus, which causes rabies, and Hendra virus; seven known human deaths have resulted from these two diseases. Nipah virus is also transmitted by flying foxesit affects more people, with over 100 attributed fatalities. They have cultural significance to indigenous people, with appearances in traditional art, folklore, and weaponry. Their fur and teeth were used as currency in the past. Some cultures still use their teeth as currency today.