Pacific Sheath-tailed Bat, Emballonura semicaudata
Image Caption: Pacific Sheath-Tailed Bat (Emballonura semicaudata) (pe’ape’a). Credit: Jorge Palmeirim/Wikipedia
The Pacific sheath-tailed bat (Emballonura semicaudata), also known as the Polynesian sheath-tailed bat, is a sac-winged bat that can be found in many areas, including Guam, Fiji, Somoa, Palua, Micronesia, Tonga, Vanuatu, and American Somoa. It is thought to occur in forested areas and is known to be highly dependent on the presence of caves. This species is small, with an average weight of .1 ounces, and has been seen flying during the nighttime and daytime hours. There is little information regarding the habits of this species, but it has been known to roost on overhanging cliffs.
The Pacific sheath-tailed bat was once common throughout its range, but the last sighting of it in Guam occurred in 1972. In Fiji, population numbers of this species have been steadily declining, and the entire species is recorded as having a declining population trend. Its subspecies, however, are thought to have stable population numbers.
The major threats to the Pacific sheath-tailed bat, and the most likely causes of its decline, are largely unknown. However, it is threatened by roost disturbances, habitat loss, poisoning from pesticides, and invasive species. This species is protected by legislation in Guam and Somoa and on the Northern Marianas Islands, where a small population occurs. It is thought that more research is required about the habits, threats, and potential recovery of this species before any conservation efforts can be conducted. The Pacific sheath-tailed bat appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Endangered.”