Megabats and Microbats
Bats are the only native mammals in Fiji. There are six species in Fiji, out of which five are threatened or critically endangered. Bat species are divided into two groups, Megabats and Microbats. Very little is known of the endemic Fiji Flying Fox. Dedicated research on Fiji bats have been very scarce with only published reports in 1985 on cave inventories, and a broad documentation of bat species on 30 islands out of over 300 Fiji islands.
Megabats include all flying foxes and are related to lemurs. They are vegetarian, have excellent night vision and most roost in trees but some are cave dwellers. Fiji’s tree dwelling species are:
- Fiji Flying Fox (Mirimiri acrodonta) − Endemic to Fiji and critically endangered
- Pacific Flying Fox (Pteropus tonganus)
- Samoan Flying Fox − (Pteropus samoensis) – Threatened
Microbats are shrew-like and use sonar to navigate and find their food such as insects but in some countries their food source includes small mammals or licking blood.
Achievements to date
- Rediscovery of the endemic Fiji Flying Fox in 2009. The only known records of this species were at the British Museum in 1978 and at the Australian Museum in 1990.
- Cave inventory for cave-dwelling bats on five islands were documented in three months with reported ten active cave sites.
- Discovered and documented an active cave of the Fiji Blossom Bat on Viti Levu, adding to the five known active caves of this species on the island
- Discovered and documented an active cave of the Pacific Sheath-tail Bat on Ovalau, adding to two known sites of this species on the island
- Production of awareness materials in Fijian and English on the six species of Fijian bats as well as cave guidelines when visiting active bat caves.
Further Action Needed
- Bats experts for training
- Continual monitoring, discovering new sites, assessing population size and documentation of findings. Available data will help researchers apply effective conservation actions.
- Funding to train students in dedicated research on bats ecology, habitats, diet and foraging habits, especially microbats.
- Protection of cave sites from continuous disturbance including fencing
- Engaging landowners with awareness program