The Ryukyu flying fox is a species of megabat. The body of this bat is covered in long hairs, making it seem almost woolly. The bat is reddish brown and has a yellowish white nape. Its ears are small and pointed, and are difficult to see beneath its thick fur. Its flight membranes are dark brown in color.
Ryukyu flying foxes are native to Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines. In Japan, they are found on the Osumi Islands, Tokara Islands, Okinawa Islands, Miyako Islands, Yaeyama Islands, and Daito Islands. In the Philippines, they are present in Batan, Dalupiri, and Fuga. Thee bats inhabit subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical swamps.
Ryukyu flying foxes are nocturnal creaturs and feed at night. Sometimes, however, during the day they can be found feeding on cherry blossoms. Normally, during the day they roost, singly or in small groups hiding high up in trees. They may even roost in large camps and may also change their roosting sites.
Little is known about the mating system in Ryukyu flying foxes. They breed between November and early January. Females give birth to a single pup and the gestation period lasts around 4 or 6 months. Females in this species are ready to breed when they are 1 or 2 years old.
Main threats to Ryukyu flying foxes include hunting and habitat loss. Some populations in the Philippines are hunted for food as this bat is considered a delicacy on Babuyan Claro. In Japan, habitat loss is the main threat but some individuals get entangled in nets placed to protect citrus crops and others are electrocuted by power-lines.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Ryukyu flying foxes is around 3,000-6,000 mature individuals. There are estimated populations of the species in the following areas: northern part of Japan - less than 200 individuals; on the two Daito islands - 300-500 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.
Ryukyu flying foxes are important pollinators of some local tree species and also act as seed dispersers due to their foraging habits.