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Pteropus rayneri 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Pteropus rayneri Gray, 1870
Common Name(s):
English Solomons Flying Fox, Solomons Flying-fox
Spanish Zorro Volador De Las Salomón
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy of Pteropus rayneri subspecies and relationships with P. cognatus and P. rennelli are need of review.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-05-20
Assessor(s): Lavery, T.H.
Reviewer(s): Mildenstein, T.
Contributor(s): Hamilton, S. & Leary, T.
Justification:
Pteropus rayneri is listed as Near Threatened because this species is in significant decline (but at a rate of less than 30% over the last three generations; 24 years) making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A2c. There are periodic, unexplained large declines in population numbers and the species is heavily hunted for food, although whether this is a major threat to the species is unknown.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs on the islands of Bougainville and Buka of Papua New Guinea, and is found on the Solomon Islands of Choiseul and Arnavon (S. Hamilton and T. Leary pers. comm.), Vangunu, Gatokae, Rendova, Kolombangara, Ghizo, Tetepare, New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Guadalcanal (T. Lavery pers. comm.), and Vella Lavella, Shortland, Simbo, Mono, and Malaita (Flannery 1995, Bonaccorso 1998). It has been recorded from sea level to 700 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is common on a number of islands in the Solomon Islands (Flannery 1995). It is also fairly common on Bougainville and Buka. There were five observed colonies on the eastern coast of Bougainville during 2002-2005, a previously reported large colony in the vicinity of Arawa has now disappeared (S. Hamilton pers. comm). In Solomon Islands large colonies occur at Viru Harbour, New Georgia, Kukudu School, Kolombangara, Lake Rano, Rendova, and Kolobangara River, Choiseul (T. Lavery pers. comm). Bowen-Jones et al. (1997) investigated six reported colonies of this species on Choiseul Island in 1995 and found that four of these had been abandoned. The two remaining colonies contained estimates of 7,188 and 5,200 individuals. Assuming an average colony size of 5,000 individuals the authors estimated the population of P. rayneri comprised by these colonies had declined from 35,000 to 12,300 individuals between 1985 and 1995.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species often roosts in large colonies, but is also commonly seen roosting in small groups of 5-12 individuals underneath caves and limestone overhangs, within the hollows of strangler figs (Ficus spp.) and concealed within the dead overhanging leaves of Pandanus. A group of seven animals disturbed from a cave on Gatokae Island had not returned within seven days and presumably relocated to a large colony or an alternate roosting site (T. Lavery pers. comm). This species has also been observedroosting singly in tall trees in secondary forest. Favoured colony sites are close to the coast and among mangroves or swamp vegetation. However, colonies on Kolombangara and New Georgia occur in relatively cleared locations among the grounds of a secondary school and a teak plantation respectively (T. Lavery pers. comm). It has been recorded from mature and secondary tropical forest, mangroves, and coconut plantations. Animals have been found feeding on Malay Apple flowers and garden fruits, and captured in coconut groves. The species is estimated to have a generation time of five to six years (S. Hamilton and T. Leary pers. comm).
Systems:Terrestrial
Generation Length (years):8

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is rarely hunted.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Flannery (1995) reported that it was heavily hunted for food in some areas, but remained relatively common. Targeted hunting at roosting sites may be a major threat to the species (approximately 10,000 bats may be harvested per year on Bougainville, S. Hamilton pers. comm). The human population on Bougainville and Buka is estimated at 200,000 people, and could potentially lead to an increase in opportunistic hunting. In Solomon Islands the level hunting pressure varies regionally. On Western Province islands where Seventh Day Adventism is the predominant religion, Solomons Flying Fox is rarely hunted. In other locations in it appears to be hunted regularly, but the absence of firearms precludes large numbers being taken (T. Lavery pers. comm.). Some animals are hunted for their teeth for use in customary shell money, but this is probably not a major concern (T. Leary and T. Lavery pers. comm).

There were major die-offs of populations of this species on Bougainville and Buka in the 1980s, the cause is unknown, but it may have been related to disease or environmental factors such as temperature increase. There continue to be reports of periodic die-offs of large numbers of individuals (S. Hamilton pers. comm).

Bonaccorso (1998) considered the ongoing and rapid logging of the Solomon Islands to be a significant threat. The islands of Isabel, Choiseul and New Georgia have, and continue to be, heavily logged, and the island of Malaita has the highest human population in the Solomon Islands (T. Leary pers. comm).

Cyclones and other storms may have a significant impact on this species. The population on Malaita Island was decimated by a cyclone in the 1990s (Flannery 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. Field studies are needed to determine the current status of populations throughout the species' range. Important sites for roosting and foraging should be identified and possibly protected. It is not known whether it occurs in any protected areas (T. Leary pers. comm.).

Citation: Lavery, T.H. 2017. Pteropus rayneri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T18754A22086707. . Downloaded on 23 October 2017.
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