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Concept: Caroline Islands


The taxonomy, biology, and population status of flying foxes (Pteropus spp.) remain little investigated in the Caroline Islands, Micronesia, where multiple endemic taxa occur. Our study evaluated the taxonomic relationships between the flying foxes of the Mortlock Islands (a subgroup of the Carolines) and two closely related taxa from elsewhere in the region, and involved the first ever field study of the Mortlock population. Through a review of historical literature, the name Pteropus pelagicus Kittlitz, 1836 is resurrected to replace the prevailing but younger name Pteropus phaeocephalus Thomas, 1882 for the flying fox of the Mortlocks. On the basis of cranial and external morphological comparisons, Pteropus pelagicus is united taxonomically with Pteropus insularis “Hombron and Jacquinot, 1842” (with authority herein emended to Jacquinot and Pucheran 1853), and the two formerly monotypic species are now treated as subspecies - Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus in the Mortlocks, and Pteropus phaeocephalus insularis on the islands of Chuuk Lagoon and Namonuito Atoll. The closest relative of Pteropus pelagicus is Pteropus tokudae Tate, 1934, of Guam, which is best regarded as a distinct species. Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus is the only known resident bat in the Mortlock Islands, a chain of more than 100 atoll islands with a total land area of <12 km(2). Based on field observations in 2004, we estimated a population size of 925-1,200 bats, most of which occurred on Satawan and Lukunor Atolls, the two largest and southernmost atolls in the chain. Bats were absent on Nama Island and possibly extirpated from Losap Atoll in the northern Mortlocks. Resident Mortlockese indicated bats were more common in the past, but that the population generally has remained stable in recent years. Most Pteropus phaeocephalus pelagicus roosted alone or in groups of 5-10 bats; a roost of 27 was the largest noted. Diet is comprised of at least eight plant species, with breadfruit (Artocarpus spp.) being a preferred food. Records of females with young (April, July) and pregnant females (July) suggest an extended breeding season. Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus appears most threatened by the prospect of sea level rise associated with global climate change, which has the potential to submerge or reduce the size of atolls in the Mortlocks. Occasional severe typhoons probably temporarily reduce populations on heavily damaged atolls, but hunting and ongoing habitat loss are not current problems for the subspecies.

Concepts: Caroline Islands, Atoll, Pteropus, Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk, Namonuito Atoll, Yap, Pohnpei


Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) belonging to the Flaviviridae family and Flavivirus genus. ZIKV was first isolated from a monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947 [1]. Subsequently, sporadic human infections were reported in Africa and Asia. In 2007, the first large documented ZIKV outbreak was reported from Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia [2]. No further transmission was identified in the Pacific until October 2013 when French Polynesia (FP) reported the first cases; a subsequent explosive outbreak resulted in an estimated 28,000 cases seeking medical care (~11% of the population) [3,4]. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Pacific Ocean, Oceania, All rights reserved, Caroline Islands, Copyright, Polynesia, Federated States of Micronesia, Yap


A new pleurotomariid species, Bayerotrochus delicatus sp. nov., collected from the Yap Seamount, near Palau, Western Pacific (8°51'N, 137°47'E), is described and illustrated. The generic assignment is based on morphology and molecular evidence. The new species is characterized by a small, depressed trochoid shell sculptured with delicate spiral threads and axial riblets; the shell surface is lustrous orange mottled with iridescence. The radula has a formula of R + 3 + 23 + (ca. 30) + (ca. 65) + 9. These features can separate Bayerotrochus delicatus sp. nov. from its congeners. To determine the relationships of Bayerotrochus delicatus sp. nov. with other pleurotomariids, a neighbor-joining (NJ) tree was established using available sequences of cytochrome c oxidase I gene (COI) from this study and GenBank.

Concepts: DNA, Species, Cytochrome c, Cytochrome c oxidase, Caroline Islands, Cytochrome, Palau, Pleurotomariidae


Reproduction and recruitment are key processes that replenish marine populations. Here we use the Palau archipelago, in the western Pacific Ocean, as a case study to examine scales of connectivity and to determine whether an oceanographic model, incorporating the complex reef architecture, is a useful predictor of coral recruitment. We tested the hypothesis that the reefs with the highest retention also had the highest densities of juvenile coral density from 80 field sites. Field comparisons showed a significant correlation between the densities of juvenile Acropora colonies and total larval recruitment derived from the model (i.e., calculated as the sum of the densities of larvae that self-seeded and recruited from the other reefs in the archipelago). Long-distance larval imports may be too infrequent to sustain coral populations, but are critical for recovery in times of extreme local stress.

Concepts: Fish, Scleractinia, Atlantic Ocean, Japan, Pacific Ocean, Ocean, Micronesia, Caroline Islands