A real place loved by C. S. Lewis
Photo by Zen
Northern Territory, Australia
Photo by Shellac
Coming in at least 60 species, Pteropus, also known
as “fruit bat” or “Flying Fox,” flies in Australia, in
Papua New Guinea, in Indonesia, and in various
islands in and around the Indian Ocean.
Unlike the pterosaur, the bat
has an arm that radiates the
finger-like structures from the
leading edge of the wing. In
the fruit bat, Pteropus, often
no tail is visible, for it is small.
Unlike the Microbats, this bat
does not have echolocation*. It
relies instead on smell and on
its eyes. Most Megabats feed
on fruit; but megachiropteran
nectarivores (those that feed
on nectar) are the exception.
Fruit Bats, in general, hang
upside down when at rest. In
some colonies, great numbers
of Flying Foxes can make the
upper branches of some trees
a wild place where the bats
compete for space to rest.
Do not confuse this bat with
the ropen of some parts of
Papua New Guinea. The ropen
has a long tail and is much
larger than any bat.
*An exception: the Egyptian Fruit
Bat, which does use a form of
The Flying Fox Fruit Bat is not to be confused with the larger flying
creature called “ropen” on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea. This
apparent pterosaur has a long tail, described by eyewitness Duane
Hodgkinson as “at least ten or fifteen feet long.”
In addition, the ropen is reported to glow with what investigators
believe is a bioluminescence, which it may use to navigate among
trees at night and to catch fish or other food it finds on reefs around
Umboi Island. The ropen appears to be a living pterosaur.
© Jonathan Whitcomb 2011
Sketch by Eskin Kuhn
Sighting in Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, in 1971
This may be related
to the ropen of PNG