Mariana Fruit Bat, Pteropus mariannus

The Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus mariannus), also known as the Mariana flying fox and locally as the fanihi, is a species of megabat that is native only to Guam, Ulithi, and the Mariana Islands from which the species was named. This species holds three subspecies, including the Ulithi Mariana fruit bat. The Mariana fruit bat reaches an average weight of up to 1.1 pounds, with males growing larger than females, displaying a sexual dimorphism. The underbelly can be brown to black in color, sometimes holding sparse grey fur, while the mantle and shoulders are typically gold-brown in color and the head can vary in color from brown to black.

The Mariana fruit bat held an estimated population of three hundred to four hundred individuals in 2001, but its current population numbers are not known. It is threatened by habitat loss, predation from humans and animals, and natural threats. The Chamorros consider the species to be a delicacy, but the consumption of fruit bats has been linked to lytico-bodig disease, which affects the brain. The Mariana fruit bat appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Endangered.â€

Image Caption: Mariana Fruit Bat. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikipedia