Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Pteropus insularis
Species Authority: Hombron & Jacquinot, 1842
Common Name(s):
English Chuuk Flying Fox, Truk Flying Fox , Ruck Flying Fox
French Roussette Des Îles Truk
Pteropus phaeocephalus Thomas, 1882

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-09-16
Assessor(s): Helgen, K. & Wiles, G.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Medellín, R., Lamoreux, J. & Racey, P.A.

Listed as Critically Endangered because a suspected population decline of more than 80% over the last three generations due to over-exploitation and habitat destruction may not have ceased. There is no recent information on the species' threats or conservation status. Population numbers could have partially recovered after commercial hunting ended in 1989 as with other species in the genus, but it is equally possible that the species is still in decline. Often such a lack of information would result in a Data Deficient listing. This species, however, has a very small extent of occurrence (<100 km²), and presumably a commensurately small area of occupation, such that even assuming the rosiest scenario regarding its population trend it would likely qualify as Vulnerable under the D2 criterion (given its susceptibility to naturally occurring catastrophic events, notably cyclones). Thus, the range of plausible categories for this species is from VU to CR. Because there is no evidence to suggest that the species has ceased to decline, we consider the listing of Critically Endangered to be the most plausible in accordance with IUCN guidelines.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Data Deficient (DD)
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)
1994 Endangered (E)
1990 Endangered (E)
1988 Indeterminate (I)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is restricted to the islands of the Chuuk Lagoon and Namonuito Atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Countries occurrence:
Micronesia, Federated States of
Upper elevation limit (metres): 435
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It was commonly seen in 1984, and the population was roughly estimated to be around 5,628 animals in 1986. The population declined substantially during the late 1980s through overexploitation for commercial trade on Guam and the Northern Marianas. The population may have recovered after this trade was prohibited in 1989 (G. Wiles pers. comm.). No information is currently available on population size or trend.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Little information is available on the natural history of this species. A roost of about 1,000 individuals has been recorded in native forest near to the summit of Tol Island (Mickleburgh et al. 1992). It has been observed feeding on the flowers of the coconut (Cocos nucifera) (Mickleburgh et al. 1992).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species was severely threatened by overexploitation for the commercial market on the island of Guam and the Northern Marianas. Records indicate that 5,795 animals were exported from Chuuk to Guam between 1978 and 1989, with 3,723 of these animals exported between 1988 and 1989 (Mickleburgh et al. 1992). Much of the natural habitat of Chuuk has been lost through conversion to agricultural land and plantations (coconut, breadfruit, mangos, and bananas). Recent trends in habitat loss are unknown. The residents of Chuuk do not hunt the bats for local use (Mickleburgh et al. 1992).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Trade restrictions should be enforced. Regular monitoring of known populations should be initiated. Further surveys to identify additional populations, possibly on adjacent islands, are needed. An environmental education and awareness programme should be initiated (Mickleburgh et al. 1992).

Citation: Helgen, K. & Wiles, G. 2010. Pteropus insularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T18730A8512587. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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