Pteropus coxi Helgen, Helgen, & Wilson

Cox’s Flying Fox (Pteropus coxi)

This fascinating species was described in the year 2009 from two skulls, which originate from two specimens, which had been shot during the ‘U.S. Exploring Expedition’ in the years 1838 to 1842 in Samoa.

The remaining bones and the skins of these two individuals are now unfortunately unlocatable. [2]

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The Large Samoa Flying Fox has obviously survived into the 1980th years, as can be extracted from an eyewitness account of the Ethnobotanist Dr. Paul Alan Cox.:

I will never forget the first time I saw one of these giant bats in the rainforest. One day, while climbing a tree, I saw what appeared to be an eagle flying away from a liana flower. The bat I saw in my field glasses appeared to have a wingspan of five feet [1,5 m] or more and lacked the white fur on the back of the neck that characterizes the locally common flying fox, P. tonganus. This large bat was black and its behavior was completely unusual. I later thoroughly enjoyed watching them soar, eagle-like, high above the forest in midday sun.” [1]

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The natives of the Samoan Islands have always hunted flying foxes for food purposes, and they still do so today.

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References:

[1] Paul A. Cox: Flying Fox nearly extinct in Samoa. Bats Magazine 1(4). 1984
[2] Kristofer M. Helgen; Lauren E. Helgen; Don E. Wilson: Pacific flying foxes (Mammalia: Chiroptera): Two new species of Pteropus from Samoa, probably extinct. American Museum Novitates 3646: 1-37. 2009

Mirimiri acrodonta (Hill & Beckon)

Fijian Monkey-faced Bat (Mirimiri acrodonta)

The Fijian Monkey-faced Bat was described as recently as 1978.

This Flying Fox is about 20 cm long and has a wingspan of up to 70 cm, it is nocturnal and feeds mainly on fruits.

This species is up to now known to occur exclusively in the wet montane forest (at an elevation of about 1000 m) on the island of Taveuni. It is possible, that it may also occur on the adjacent island of Vanua Levu, but this is, however, still unresolved so far.

Unfortunately the Fijian Monkey-faced Bat is considered critically endangered, the reasons for this are found mainly in the destruction of its habitat.

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References:

[1] Kristofer M. Helgen: Systematics of the Pacific monkey-faced bats (Chiroptera : Pteropodidae), with a new species of Pteraloplex and a new Fijian genus. Systematics and Biodiversity 3(4): 433-453. 2005
[2] Jorge M. Palmeirim; Alan Champion; Alivereti Naikatini, Jone Niukula; Marika Tuiwawa; Martin Fisher; Mere Yabaki-Gounder; Sólveig Thorsteinsdóttir; Stanley Qalovaki; Thomas Dunn: Distribution, Status, and Conservation of Bats in the Fiji Islands. Oryx 41(4): 509-519. 2006

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mirimiri-acrodonta-wnb

Photo: William N. Beckon

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