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

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