Syconycteris australis Click to enlarge image
HJB-29717.tif Image: Hans & Judy Beste
Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australis
    Genus
    Syconycteris
    Family
    Pteropodidae
    Order
    Chiroptera
    Subclass
    Eutheria
    Class
    Mammalia
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Up to 6 cm.

Introduction

Fawn to reddish-brown, large eyes, long narrow face and a long thin ‘brush-like’ tongue.

Identification

A small nectar feeding bat. It is fawn to reddish-brown in colour above with a paler belly. It has a long narrow face, large eyes and a very long thin tongue, with a brush-like tip.

Habitat

Rainforests, wet eucalypt forests and paperbark swamps.

Distribution

Eastern and north-eastern Australia.

Feeding and diet

Its diet is highly specialised, consisting of nectar and pollen from bottlebrush, paperbark, banksia and gum tree blossoms. It usually lands on flowers to feed, but will often hover in front of them to collect the nectar and pollen. It is an important pollinator of many rainforest plants.

Breeding behaviours

Roosts individually in dense foliage up in the sub-canopy. One young is born in early spring, followed by another in late summer to early autumn.

Danger to humans

Normally harmless, but it is best to avoid handling any bat because they may carry the potentially fatal Australian Bat Lissavirus (ABLV), which is transmitted through scratches or bites.