Rousettus obliviosus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Rousettus obliviosus
Species Authority: Kock, 1978
Common Name(s):
English Comoros Rousette, Comoro Rousette
French petite roussette des Comores, roussette des Comores
Taxonomic Notes: Some consider Rousettus obliviosus as a subspecies of R. madagascarensis (see Simmons 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M. & Bergmans, W.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Vulnerable in view of its extent of occurrence of and area of occupancy being a maximum of 1,659 km²), with all individuals in fewer than ten locations (six roosting caves known), and a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat. If the roosting locality of Bandakalala has been abandoned, and no additional roosting sites located, then the species will qualify as Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) in view of its restricted range and being limited to five or fewer localities (roosting caves).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to the lower elevations of the islands of Grande Comores, Moheli and Ajouan in the Comoros, western Indian Ocean. The species has not been reported on Mayotte Island (Sewall et al. 2003a). All captures recorded by Sewall et al. (2003), occurred between 20 and 1,750 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):20
Upper elevation limit (metres):1750
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is fairly common, with colony roost size ranging from around 100 to several thousand animals (Sewall et al. 2003). The total estimated population is between 7,100 and 17,100 bats (Sewall et al. 2003).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Bergmans (1994) reports that all four of the Comoro islands are covered with Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal mosaic. Much of the forest, especially in the lower regions, has been destroyed. In parts of the remaining forest the undergrowth has been replaced by banana plantations. The large series collected by the Belgian expedition indicates that the species, which is most probably a lowland forest species, has been able to adapt itself to the changing environment thus far. Sewall et al. (2003) widely recorded the species in native forest, underplanted forest and agricultural areas, but not villages or towns. It is a cave roosting species that is currently only known to roost at six cave localities in remote areas with difficult terrain or dense vegetation and infrequently visited by people (Sewall et al. (2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is sensitive to disturbance at roost sites and this appears to be the major threat to this restricted range bat. During the early 1990s, deforestation on the Comoros averaged 5.8% per year, with human population growth at 2.5%. While the species is regularly recorded from agricultural areas, and it seems that deforestation is possibly not a major threat, this bat also uses areas of both natural and underplanted forests which are expected to help the species cope with seasonal and year to year environmental variation, including droughts and cyclones (Sewall et al. 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are currently no direct conservation actions in place for this species. The National Conservation Action Plan for Pteropus livingstoni (Sewall et al. 2003) includes an appendix for the conservation of Rousettus obliviosus. While the few known roosting sites are in remote areas, there is a need to ensure that these caves are not disturbed. Sewall et al. (2003) note that the roosting site at Bandakalala on Moheli might have been abandoned. Additional field surveys are needed to confirm this, as are attempts to locate any additional roost sites for this species.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.2. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Other Subterranean Habitats
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.3. Work & other activities
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Bergmans, W. 1994. Taxonomy and biogeography of African fruit bats (Mammalia, Megachiroptera). 4. The genus Rousettus Gray, 1821. Beaufortia 44(4): 79-126.

Carroll, J. B. 1985. The flying foxes (Pteropus spp.) of the western Indian Ocean islands (and a footnote on Rousettus obliviosus). Bat News 4: 4-5.

Mickleburgh, S.P., Hutson, A.M. and Racey, P.A. 1992. Old World Fruit-Bats - An Action Plan for their Conservation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Sewall, B. J., Granek, E. F. and Trewhella, W. J. 2003. The endemic Comoros Islands fruit bat Rousettus oblivious: ecology, conservation and Red List status. Oryx 37(3): 344–352.

Sewall, B. J., Granek, E. F., Carroll, J. B., Feistner, A. T. C., Masefield, W., Moutui, M. F. E., Reason, P. F., Rodriguez-Clark, K. M., Said, I., Trewhella, W. J., Vely, M. and Wells, S. 2003. Plan d'Action pour la Conservation de la Rousette de Livingstone Pteropus livingstonii (Project Document). Projet Conservation de la Biodiversite et Developpement Durable aux Comores, Moroni, Union des Comores.

Simmons, N.B. 2005. Order Chiroptera. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 312-529. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M. & Bergmans, W. 2008. Rousettus obliviosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19757A9011394. . Downloaded on 26 August 2016.
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