We examined characteristics of roosting sites utilized by two flying fox species (Pteropus tonganus and P. samoensis) in American Samoa. The colonial roosting sites of P. tonganus were observed over a ten-year period, including two years when severe hurricanes devastated bat populations and destroyed roost trees. Prior to the hurricanes, roosts were located on cliff faces above the ocean or steep mountainsides, locations that were either inaccessible to people or in protected areas where hunting was not allowed. In the years immediately following the hurricanes, P. tonganus colonies split into smaller groups that moved frequently to different locations. Four years after the second hurricane, colonies had coalesced and returned to many of the traditional roosting sites used before the hurricanes. Common tree species in upland and coastal forest were selected as roosts. The isolated locations selected for P. tonganus roosts were apparently the result of hunting pressure on the colonies. The solitary roosts of P. samoensis were observed during 29 months. Roosting bats were well concealed and hard to detect within the forest; even bats on exposed branches were cryptic. Mature primary forest was favored as roosting habitat. Individual bats used specific branches or trees as roosts and returned to them for up to 29 months. Unlike P. tonganus, people did not alarm roosting P. samoensis easily and some roosts were located near houses and along roads.
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Vol. 32 • No. 2