Lyle's flying fox is a moderate-sized species. It has a long snout, large eyes, pointed ears, and a fox-like face. The upper parts are mostly blackish apart from a broad collar of orange fur and sometimes a dark brown or yellowish-brown lower body. The wings are black or dark brown, while the underparts are dark brownish-black.
Lyle's flying foxes are native to the countries in southern Asia adjoining the Gulf of Thailand. Their range extends from southern Thailand through central and southern Cambodia to the extreme southwestern part of Vietnam. They also occur in Yunnan Province in China. These bats live in the tropical and sub-tropical forest, mangrove forests and can also be found in plantations and secondary forests.
Lyle's flying foxes are gregarious and roost in big colonies high in the trees. They feed during the night but the roosting colony can be quite active during the day, with mothers feeding their young and the bats moving around and vocalizing. While foraging they may fly 50 km (31 mi) between their roosting sites.
Lyle's flying foxes are mainly frugivorous animals. They feed on fruits which include mango, cashew, monkey jack, sapodilla, dragonfruit, Java apple, tamarind, jambolan, and roseapple. They also feed on flowers, nectar, and pollen.
Little is known about the mating system in Lyle's flying foxes. Females give birth to a single pup, occasionally twins. The gestation period lasts around 140-190 days. During the first days after birth, the baby clings to its mother and later it is left on the branch or holes while the mother does foraging.
Lyle's flying foxes are threatened by the loss of habitat, as existing trees die and are not replaced by new plantings. Another threat is hunting in Thailand and Cambodia and persecution by farmers across their range trying to protect their orchards.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Lyle's flying fox total population size. However, there is an estimated population of this species in Thailand which consists of about 3,000 individuals. Currently, Lyle's flying foxes are classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.
When feeding, Lyle's flying foxes chew the fruit and spit out most of the seeds, but some seeds are swallowed and pass through the bat, resulting in their dispersal. These bats also feed on pollen and may act as pollinators of some local plants and trees.