Technical Report #165. Fraser, Heather R., Adam C. Miles, and Leslie HaySmith. April 2009. Surveys for the Pacific Sheath-tailed Bat in American Samoa

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Because bats are often the only native terrestrial mammals on geographically isolated island systems, they are critical to the biodiversity of mammalian fauna. Emballonura semicaudata was once widespread and relatively common throughout its historic range in Micronesia and Polynesia, however, drastic declines and possible extinctions on some islands have been recorded in recent years. The objectives of the Pacific sheath-tailed bat inventory were to determine and document: (1) the occurrence of Pacific sheath-tailed bats in parks and selected areas of American Samoa; and (2) general habitat characteristics associated with Pacific sheath-tailed bat observations. Acoustic surveys were done in 2006 using Mini-3 bat detectors, while surveys in 2008 were done using Anabat II frequency division bat detectors. Literature reviews, interviews with local residents and park personnel, and discussions with other scientists working with insectivorous bats were also conducted to investigate possible locations of Pacific sheath-tailed bats in sample areas. Because E. semicaudata is rare in our survey areas, this inventory was highly exploratory and opportunistic in nature. Although we did not detect any Pacific sheath-tailed bats in American Samoa during acoustic surveys in 2006 and 2008, it is possible that these bats have moved into more remote areas of the islands. Future surveys should focus on use of passive monitoring bat detectors (e.g., Anabat detection systems), which allows for continued, long-term monitoring in the absence of researchers, while operating for long time periods on battery power. We also recommend additional interviews with residents, as well as thorough searches in remote areas of Tau, Tutuila, and Ofu/Olosega, particularly focusing on areas where sheath-tailed bats have been previously reported.

Title page, table of contents, list of tables and figures

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Abstract and introduction

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Results, conclusions and acknowledgements

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Literature cited

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