Bats of Fiji

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

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

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.

  • Fijian Blossom Bat (Notopteris macdonaldi) – Vulnerable. Fiji represents the global population of this species
  • Pacific Sheath-tail Bat (Emballonura semicaudata) – Critically endangered
  • Fijian Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida bregullae) − Endangered

Achievements to date

 Can you guess which insectivorous, cave-dwelling bat this is?

Can you guess which insectivorous, cave-dwelling bat this is?

  • 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

Project Number: MV 11

Project Manager: Nunia Thomas

Project Funder/Donor:

Critical Ecosystem Partnership  Fund: 2009 – 2012

Austrop Bats: 2012

Bat Conservation International: 2014 – 2015

Project Start Date: 2009

Project End Date: 2015

Partners: Cakaudrove Provincial Office, Macuata Provincinal Office, Serua Provincial Office, University of South Australia, University of the South Pacific, National Trust of Fiji, Fiji Department of Environment, Bat Conservation International