When the print was made, this bat was known as Pteropus Kéraudren, but its Latin name is now Pteropus mariannus, reflecting the fact that its principal range is the Northern Mariana Islands — along with Guam and Micronesia. It is commonly referred to as the Mariana fruit bat or Mariana flying fox. Its population has declined precipitously due to human activity and it is considered a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
This print was among various natural history studies issued in the Atlas Zoologique section of the official report by Louis-Claude de Saulces de Freycinet (1779-1842) on his voyage to the Pacific in the corvettes Uranie and Physicienne from 1817-20. There are 96 plates of birds, fish, shells, vertebrates and other animals in the complete atlas, 77 of which were printed in color and finished by hand.
The Uranie, with a crew of 123 men — and Freycinet’s wife Rose, who was smuggled on board, and became the first white woman to land in Western Australia — entered the Pacific from the west. Freycinet was charged by the French government to make scientific observations on natural history, geography, magnetism, and meteorology and the measurement of the southern hemisphere. The voyagers visited Australia, the Hawaiian Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Rio de Janeiro and Tierra del Fuego and recorded a large number of highly exotic zoological specimens, many of which were new to science. These were drawn by excellent French natural history artists of the day for this report, including Oudart and Prévost.
Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidifed, with some light remaining toning, wear, soft creases, scattered pale browning or foxing, and light irregularities to outer edges.
Allison, A., Bonaccorso, F., Helgen, K. & James, R. 2008. “Pteropus mariannus.” The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2.
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/18737/0 (10 August 2015).
Brunet, Jacques-Charles. Manuel du Libraire et de l’Amateur de Livres. Berlin: Josef Altmann, 1922 (reprint). 1392.
“Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands: Mariana Fruit Bats/ Fanihi.” Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. 20 September 2012. http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/marianabat.html (10 August 2015).
Nissen, Claus. Die Zoologische Buchillustration: ihre Bibliographie und Geschichte. Stuttgart: 1969-78. 1425.
Sabin, Joseph, Wilberforce Eames and R.W.G. Vail. Dictionary of Books Relating to America: From Its Discovery to the Present Time, Volumes I and II. 1868. Reprint ed. Mansfield Center, CT: Martino Publishing, 1998. 25916.
Sitwell, Sacheverell. Fine Bird Books, 1700-1900. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990. pp. 96-97.
nWood, Casey A. (ed.) An Introduction to the Literature of Vertebrate Zoology Based Chiefly on the Titles in the Blacker Library of Zoology, the Emma Shearer Wood Library of Ornithology, the Bibliotheca Osleriana, and Other Libraries of McGill University, Montreal. London: Humphry Milford, Oxford University Press, 1931. p. 349.