HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Jamie Lee
Researchers have uncovered new information about the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaii's endangered state land mammal.
DNA sequencing has determined that it migrated to the islands from North America's Pacific coast in two separate waves more than 9,000 years apart. This feat represents the longest over-water flight recorded.
The study estimates that these migrations from mainland North America happened around 800 years ago and again 10,000 years ago.
"Our present findings will be useful for the re-evaluation of the bat's conservation status," said Frank Bonaccorso, a wildlife ecologist from the U.S. Geological Survey and co-author on the bat's study. Bonaccorso adds that the findings demonstrate there are two evolutionarily distinct groups of Hawaiian hoary bats.
Hawaii has long served as a model for scientists to determine the dispersion of wildlife in similar habitats.