Least Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus pusillus)


HB: 38-42; T:16-20; FA:36-40; E: 13-16; HF: 7-8.

The pelage is rather furry, with the upper parts pale brown  and the underparts lighter. The ears are quite large, extending beyond the muzzle when laid flat. The anterior nose leaf is broad; the sella is widest at its base; the lancet is taller than it is wide. The canines and the upper premolars are unmodified; the middle lower incisor is variable, sometimes outside the tooth row, or half in the tooth row, or even completely in the row.

Range Description:

This species has a very wide range from South Asia eastwards to Japan, occurring also in southern and southwestern China, including Taiwan, southwards through mainland Southeast Asia to Indonesia and Borneo. The distribution of the geographically isolated subspecies is given below.

Subspecies pusillus is widely distributed in South Asia, southern and Southwestern China and much of Southeast Asia. In South Asia it is widely distributed and is presently known from India (Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal) and Nepal (Central and Western Nepal) (Molur et al. 2002). Recently collected from Kothaiyar Dam site in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu (Vanitharani et al. 2005). In China, it has been recorded from Sichuan, Guizhou, Hubei, Fujian, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan Island and Yunnan (Smith and Xie 2008). It appears to be present throughout most of continental Southeast Asia, ranging from Myanmar in the west, to Vietnam in the east and as far south as Peninsular Malaysia. It has also been recorded from Indonesia (including the Mentawi Islands and the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali), and from Kalimantan (Indonesia) and Sabah (Malaysia). In South Asia it has been recorded from 200 to 1,370 m asl (Molur et al. 2002).

Subspecies is endemic to Taiwan, Province of China (Smith and Xie 2008). It occupies low elevations on the island (Chen et al. 2006).

Subspecies cornutus is endemic to Japan. It ranges from Hokkaido south to Okinoerabu on Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Sado Islands, Izu-Oshima, Niijima, Miyake, Mikura, Hachijo, Tsushima, Iki, Fukue, Yaku, Tane, Kuchinoerabu, Amami-Oshima, Kakeroma, and Tokunoshima (Abe, 2005). It includes as a synonym perditus which is found only on the Yaeyama Islands (Iriomote, Ishigaki, Taketomi, and Kohama), and imaizumii (described from Iriomote) (Abe, et al., 2005).

Subspecies pumilus is endemic to Japan, where it is found on three islands in the Ryukyus: Okinawa, Iheya, and Kume. The species is believed to have become extinct on Miyako (30 years ago) and Irabu (probably around 5 years ago).

Countries: Native:
Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia (Jawa, Lesser Sunda Is.); Japan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Myanmar; Nepal; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Vietnam
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.


 It appears to be widespread and common throughout its range.

Subspecies pumilus breeding colonies are on Okinawa, where the subpopulation is estimated at 5,000 or more. Only three major breeding colonies of 200, 1500 and 2000 individuals are currently known (Ministry of the Environment, 2002). On the smaller two islands, the total subpopulation is less than 300 individuals.
Population Trend: Unknown

 Habitat and Ecology:

 It has been recorded from both primary and secondary tropical moist forest, roosting in caves (up to 1,500 animals in China) and houses (usually a smaller colony size). Animals have been recorded foraging low over bamboo clumps in limestone areas (Molur et al. 2002; Smith and Xie 2008). This species is characterized as a forest-interior specialist that is not readily adaptable to open habitats (Chen et al. 2006).
Systems: Terrestrial

 Major Threat(s):

 There appear to be no major threats to this species.

Conservation Actions:

The species has been recorded from Phamong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim and Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu in India. Ecological studies and population monitoring are needed (Molur et al. 2002). It is present in numerous protected areas in Southeast Asia. Subspecies is listed as Endangered (EN) in the Japanese Red List (2007)