Dusky Roundleaf Bat (Hipposideros ater)



Head and body length is 6-7cm. Forearms 4cm. Wingspan 23-25cm.

Females are slightly larger than males. Reddish brown above and lighter brown to yellowish brown below. Two thirds of each hair is white, only the tip is coloured, usually bicoloured in nature. Wing membrane translucent and brown. Large ears greyish brown and ridged, feet and thumbs flesh coloured. Young are dark brown in colour. Three small nose-leaf flaps present. Frontal sac behind posterior leaf is prominent in males. Long tail is enclosed by a membrane, only the tip protrudes.

Range Description:

This very widespread species ranges from India, through much of Southeast Asia, to the islands of New Guinea and Australia. In South Asia this species is very widely distributed. It is presently known from India (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nicobar Islands, Orissa and Tamil Nadu) and Sri Lanka (Eastern, North Central, Southern and Western provinces) (Molur et al. 2002, Aul and Vijaykumar 2003, Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu 2006). In Southeast Asia it is distributed from Myanmar, into Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, and from here ranges to Sumatra (Indonesia), northern parts of Borneo (Brunei [possibly], Indonesia and Malaysia), the Philippines (found throughout with records from Balabac [Hill, 1963], Bohol, Catanduanes, Cebu, Leyte, Luzon [Abra, Benguet (Taylor, 1934), Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Tarlac provinces], Marinduque [Lawrence, 1939], Maripipi, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan [Heaney et al. 1998].), Sulawesi (Indonesia), the Moluccan Islands (Indonesia), the Aru Islands (Indonesia), the islands of Biak-Supiori and Yapen (Indonesia), New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), the islands of New Britain and New Ireland (Papua New Guinea), the Louisade Archipelago (Papua New Guinea). It has been recorded from northern and central parts of Australia. It has been recorded up to 1,700 m asl in (New Guinea).
Countries: Native:
Australia; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Thailand


This species is common in its range in South Asia and has been recorded in small colonies of few individuals. Although there are no long-term studies on this species, informal observations reveal that the populations are stable in many localities (C. Srinivasulu pers. comm.). In the Philippines, the species has not been found to be common (Heaney and Balete pers. comm.). It is widespread, but never especially common in the remainder of Southeast Asia (Bates pers. comm.). In Australia, it appears to be a generally uncommon species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology:

In South Asia, this species roosts in small colonies in lofts of old thatched houses, old disused buildings, disused areas of buildings, mines, tunnels, culverts, wells, hollows of large trees in forested areas, large crevices in walls, caves on sea shores. It is a late flyer with a low, fast and fluttering flight and feeds on small sized coleopterans and mosquitoes. A single young is born after a gestation period of 150-160 days (Bates and Harrison 1997). In Southeast Asia, the species has been recorded from lowland and montane primary and secondary forest, over or associated with limestone (L. Heaney and Balete pers. comm.), where it usually roosts in caves (L. Heaney et al. 1991; Rickart et al. 1993; Esselstyn and L. Heaney pers. comm. 2006) although there is a record from a human-constructed tunnel in lowland secondary forest (Sedlock, 2001). The species is only very rarely found in agricultural areas near to forest (L. Heaney pers. comm.). In New Guinea and Australia, it forages in a wide variety of habitats including rainforest, dry woodland, mangroves, dry scrub, euclypt woodland and secondary growth. It roosts in caves and abandoned tunnels. Animals largely roost in small groups but can sometimes be found in groups of several hundred individuals (Flannery 1995; Strahan 1995; Bonaccorso 1998). The female gives birth to a single young.
Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

Overall there appear to be no major threats to this widespread species as a whole. In South Asia and Australia the species is locally threatened by the disturbance of maternity caves. In the Philippines, the species has probably declined as a result of destruction of lowland forest and disturbance of caves (Heaney et al. 1998). In the Philippines, as with other cave dwelling bats, there is likely to be some localized hunting for food (Heaney and Balete pers. comm.), however, it is unlikely to be taken for food throughout most of its southeast Asian range (Francis pers. comm.).

 Conservation Actions:

In view of the species wide range, it seems probable that it is present in a number of protected areas. There is a need to identify and protect important roosting sites for this species. In South Asia, additional studies into the threats to this species are needed.