The Micronesian megapode Megapodius laperouse: conservation and research needs
Zoologische Verhandelingen , Volume 278 - Issue 5 p. 53- 55
Introduction The Micronesian megapode Megapodius laperouse, one of the smallest megapode species, is endemic to the Mariana (M. l. laperouse) and Palau (M. l. senex) Islands in the western Pacific. We outline here the outlook for the species and aspects of their biology that need investigation. A more detailed account of the status and biology of M. l. laperouse in the Marianas is in preparation. Status and distribution The Micronesian megapode in the Marianas is now restricted to the remote volcanic islands north of Saipan, with the exception of a small remnant population on Aguijan and a reintroduced population on Saipan. In historic times, this species was found on the larger coral islands of Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan, but was common only on Saipan. It went extinct on these islands in the 19th century, with the exception of Saipan, where it persisted into the 1930s though it was hunted and trapped incessantly (Baker, 1951). Generally a forest bird, it is found in both native limestone forests and dense coconut groves. Much of the forest of Saipan, Tinian, and Aguijan was lost to extensive clearing for sugar cane cultivation during the Japanese mandate (1914 - 1944). Megapodes were reintroduced to Saipan in the 1960s and 1970s by travellers from the more northern Mariana Islands, but their numbers are low and seem to be declining. Megapodes seem to have persisted on Aguijan, a nearby coral island of 7 km2 and now uninhabited. Though only 9 km from Tinian, access is difficult and this may have allowed the birds to survive. Megapodes occur or did occur on all of the nine northern volcanic islands of the archipelago, but are less abundant on inhabited islands probably due to poaching and domestic animals. The islands of Sarigan and Guguan support from a few hundred up to 2,000 megapodes respectively Agrihan is reported to have had two nest-
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Stinson, D.W, & Glass, P.O. (1992). The Micronesian megapode Megapodius laperouse: conservation and research needs. Zoologische Verhandelingen, 278(5), 53–55.