Project Description

Little Red flying foxes tear palm leaves to get lerps, a crystallized honeydew produced by larvae of psyllid bugs as a protective cover. Perhaps a source of protein as well as sugar.

Flying-foxes like to eat the leaves of a range of plants, particularly mulberry, fiddle wood, and tree lettuce. We grow them and hang whole branches about twice a week. Cos or romaine lettuce is also popular. We hear reports from the community of fiddlewood trees being stripped.

Photo (right): Spectacled flying-foxes have been observed tearing sheets of paperbark from Melaleuca leucadendron trees. We don’t know what they are really ingesting, the bark or perhaps insects under the bark. It happens mainly towards the end of the year when the females are lactating. Grey-headed flying-foxes have been observed catching insects at the same time of year so perhaps it is for added protein.

Mulberry (Morus nigra) native to Iran

Fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum) native to the West Indies

Tree lettuce, the tall plant in the middle of the photo with long leaves

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