Genus Pteropus

These guys were part of a larger commission for a woman doing a research project involving the study of the genus Pteropus (flying foxes) in Southeast Asia. I illustrated a little over 20 species for the purposes of identification. I just gathered a few of my favorites to display here.

Here is a blurb I was asked to share:

Flying foxes (genus Pteropus) are Old World fruit bats that play animportant role in seed dispersal in island ecosystems. They aredistinct evolutionarily from other bats in their reliance on sight andsmell for navigation and for their plant-based diet. They are alsoincreasingly recognized as natural reservoir hosts for emerginginfectious pathogens. Flying foxes have evolved with these pathogensso they are not harmed by them, but as humans and agriculturalactivity increasingly encroach on natural habitats, we increase thepotential of transmitting pathogens between organisms that would notnaturally co-occur otherwise. Furthermore, flying foxes are huntedheavily as part of the bushmeat trade or by farmers who view them aspests. A majority of flying foxes are endangered and their dizzyingpopulation declines are a major cause for concern to biologistseverywhere. My research on flying foxes is not only a look at theevolutionary processes that have driven their diversification, butalso lends itself to providing a clearer understanding of theirpopulation dynamics in the face of dire conservation needs andpotential disease outbreaks.

Indonesia is home to a third of all living species of flying foxes andis the central point of flying fox diversity, but research on flyingfoxes is severely lacking. One of the difficulties stems from thelack of identification guides for non-taxonomists. Most speciesdescriptions for flying foxes are from their original description byEuropean researchers in the 19th century and their specimens arehoused in collections half a world away. These resources areessential, but may have limited impact in their ability to reachresearchers on the ground. The goal of this illustration project wasto at least provide a cursory look at the variety of flying foxes inIndonesia to highlight their diversity and begin familiarizing peoplewith these beautiful animals.

More information: [link]