This species roosts and forages in primary forests. Roosts are often found along ridge tops. The bats tend to evenly space their roosts across these ridges and locate them in trees that are clear of understory. This allows for a clear drop-off exit. The ideal drop-off exit can also be found in trees that grow along roadsides, on the edges of plantations, and open pastureland. (Banack, 2001)
is a medium sized flying fox. Adults typically weigh between 400-500 grams and have a forearm length of 130-150 mm (Brooke, 2001). The body and wings of this bat tend to be dark brown in color with variations in fur color ranging from blonde to grey on the head, neck, and shoulders (Brooke, 2001). Banack (2001) described the hairs of the fur as, "seal brown at base with lighter tips" with "pale-colored (yellowish to grayish white) hairs sprinkled throughout."
Skull characteristics: The mandible length of this species is 44.0-49.2 mm and the coronoid process height is 25.2-28.7 mm. The basal ledges of the cheek teeth are strongly developed compared to other species of the genus Pteropus. The dental formula is i2/2, c1/1, p3/3, m2/3, with a total of 34 teeth. (Banack, 2001).
The Samoan flying fox has been observed roosting alone and in male-female pairs with the offspring of the current year. Roosts are dispersed throughout the forest. This species is considered to have a monogamous social organization, because repeated use of roost sites by pairs have been observed (Brooke, 2001). Sometimes larger groups, up to nine individuals, have been seen roosting at one place, but there are never the large aggregations that can occur with some bat species. (Banack, 1998).
This species is considered diurnal as members carry out most of their activities in the early morning and late afternoon. This characteristic may be a recent occurrence in the evolution of this species, as few or no other bat species are known to be diurnal. It may provide a mechanism to avoid predation in the roost by human hunters. (Banack, 1998; Banack, 2001; Brooke, 2001)is also territorial. Individual male bats defend and advertise their territories, typically 2-4 km2, through aerial pursuits, vocalizations, scent marking, and wing displays. Banack (2001) described aerial pursuits as involving "chases between two animals and attacks in which the pursuing animal hits the fleeing animal with a wing or grabs the dorsum of the leading animal with its feet causing one or both animals to topple through the air and occasionally strike the vegetation below." This pursuit continues until the bat being chased leaves the territory. Males also scent mark their territories. They do this by rubbing neck gland secretions on the branches and trunks of trees. (Banack, 1998).
Individual male bats defend and advertise their territories, typically 2-4 km2, through aerial pursuits, vocalizations, scent marking, and wing displays (Banack, 2001). Males also scent mark their territories. They do this by rubbing neck gland secretions on the branches and trunks of trees (Banack, 1998). (Banack, 1998; Banack, 2001)
This species is considered a generalist. It feeds on 32 different plant species of which 91% grow in primary forest. Fruit is the main component of this bat's diet, but leaves and flower parts are also eaten. (Banack, 2001)
The most dangerous predators ofare humans. Humans hunt these bats when they are roosting. Owls and peregrine falcons may also prey on them in certain portions of their range. (Banack, 2001).
All flying foxes of the genus Pteropus play an important role as pollinators and seed dispersers. Brooke (2001) describes this well: "Particularly on small isolated islands with low biodiversity, flying foxes play an important role in maintaining forests by enabling seed and pollen dispersal. Loss of valuable flying fox populations may have a cascading effect on native forest ecosystems." Without flying fox species such as the dominant trees of these native forests would have a hard time regenerating and the genetic flow between different populations of each individual tree species would be greatly reduced (Banack, 1998). (Banack, 1998; Brooke, 2001)
The genus Pteropus, as a whole, is responsible for the pollination and seed dispersal of 300 plants species in Southeast Asia, tropical Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Fujita (1988) established that humans use more than 450 products that are derived from 134 of these plants. Most of these plants are not grown in plantations; therefore, they absolutely rely on these bats for regeneration. Most of these products are used locally, but some are exported. Bananas provide a good example of the importance of these bats. Although the cultivated varieties do not require pollination for fruit development, most of the 20 known wild species do. These wild bananas are primarily pollinated by bats and these plants in turn, according to Fujita (1988), "provide important genetic reservoirs for cultivar improvement and for combating disease, such as fungal root rot." Some of the other plants pollinated by flying foxes may also have medicinal properties that have not yet been studied. (Fujita, 1998)
Stacie Holmes (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Bret Weinstein (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
uses sound to communicate
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats nectar from flowers
islands that are not part of continental shelf areas, they are not, and have never been, connected to a continental land mass, most typically these are volcanic islands.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Banack, S. 2001. *Pteropus samoensis*. Mammalian Species, 661: 1-4.
Banack, S. 1998. Diet selection and resource use by Flying Foxes (Genus *Pteropus*). Ecology, 79: 1949-1967.
Brooke, A. 2001. Population status and behaviors of the Samoan flying fox (*Pteropus samoensis*) on Tutuila Island, American Somoa. Zoology, 244: 309-319.
Fujita, M. 1998. "Flying Foxes and Economics. BATS. Vol 6, No 1:4-9." (On-line). Accessed 01/08/04 at http://www.batcon.org/batsmag/v6n1-2.html.
Rainey, W. 1990. "The Flying Fox: Becoming a Rare Commodity. BATS. Vol 8, NO 1:6-9" (On-line). Accessed 01/07/04 at http://www.batcon.org/batsmag/v8n1-2.html.