Right off the bat

Affectionately called "sky-puppies" for their puppy-like faces, the Rodrigues flying fox is a member of the Old World mega-bats genus Pteropus. They're one of 60 extant species in this genus, found mainly on the Rodrigues Island in the Indian ocean. Much like other flying foxes, the Rodrigues flying fox is highly sociable species and may live in roosts as large as 500 individuals! Sadly, due to habitat loss and the slow gestation rate of this species, the Rodrigues flying fox is endangered in the wild according to the IUCN red list. Fortunately, breeding programs in zoos and conservation groups have been successful and the species has an upward population trend.

Rodrigues Flying Fox, Pteropus rodricensis by Josh More, [CC BY-NC-ND], via inaturalist.org

Today, we release the chromosome-length assembly for the Rodrigues flying fox, Pteropus rodricensis! This is a $1K-model genome, with a contig n50 = 324 Kb and a scaffold n50 = 113 Mb. For more details on our assembly procedure, please see our Methods page. We graciously thank Moody Gardens for providing the sample used to generate this genome assembly.

This is the 4th Pteropus species we've released here and the 14th bat species overall! For some preliminary analysis, we've aligned the Rodrigues flying fox against the other 3 species in our collection: Large flying fox (P. vampyrus), Madagascan flying fox (P. rufus), and the Indian flying fox (P. giganteus). The karyotype (2n=38) seems to be conserved throughout the genus:

Whole-genome alignment plots between the chromosome-length Rodrigues flying fox and the other flying foxes in the DNA Zoo collection: left to right Pteropus vampyrus, Pteropus rufus, and Pteropus giganteus.

Please check out the 19 chromosomes of the Rodrigues flying fox in the interactive JuiceBox.js session below:


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