Lesser Great Leaf-Nosed Bat (Hipposideros turpis)


HB: 66-79; T: 45-59; FA:67.2-80.

According to Hill (1936) armiger and turpis are essentially identical in their structural characteristics separated only by the much smaller size of H. turpis as compared to H. armiger. a situation not otherwise found in Hipposideros. The ears are large, broad, pointed and slightly thickened at the antitragal lobe,; they are haired for one third of their lenght. The nose leaf has tree lateral supplementary leaflets rather tan  four found in armiger.


Range Description:

This species has a very disjunct distribution, with one subspecies (H. t. turpis) on the Yaeyama (Sakishima) Islands of Japan, including Iriomote, Ishigaki, Yonaguni, and Hateruma (Abe et al. 2005) and is not likely to occur more widely, and the other subspecies (H. t. pendleburyi) in Southern Thailand and Vietnam. The systematic status of the two subspecies remains unclear in view of its unusual distribution. Surveys have not found the species in areas between known locations.
Countries: Native:
Japan (Nansei-shoto); Thailand; Vietnam


 In Japan, there are at least five colonies on Iriomote Island, with at least half of the total estimated population in a single colony that occurs on private land; on Yonaguni, there are no more than 1,000 individuals; on Ishigake, there are around 10 colonies, estimated at around 10,000 bats; and on Hateruma, there is no record of population size (this population is very distinct from other populations).
A study will be undertaken by Thong in Vietnam. The population is locally common in Cuc Phuong and Cat Ba island National Parks in Vietnam (N. Furey pers. comm.). Populations in Thailand are scattered (S. Bumrungri pers. comm.).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology:

During the day this species is found roosting in caves, often in large colonies of up to 1,000 individuals (Abe et al. 2005), and at night it forages in the surrounding woodland. The larger H. armiger feeds on large insects such as beetles (especially scarabeids), but smaller sympatric species take softer prey such as crickets, moths, Diptera, flying termites and Hymenoptera (Hutson et al. 2001). Four of the five known localities in central and northern Viet Nam are at karst sites and in protected areas (N. Furey pers. comm.), and it also occurs in karst areas in Thailand (S. Bumrungsri pers. comm.). The species uses disturbed forest, and it may persist in fragments of suitable habitat.
Systems: Terrestrial

 Major Threat(s):

 In general, human disturbance at roosting sites is the main threat. In Japan on the island of Iriomote the main breeding colonies are concentrated in two caves; most caves are subject to the risk of disturbance. The areas surrounding these caves are National Forest, but there has been pressure to develop the areas around the caves which would involve forest clearance. A nursing colony of 1,000 individuals in the western part of Iriomote Island has been disturbed by tourists since 2005. Development for agriculture and logging would remove key foraging areas and result in potential isolation of the cave roosts, causing declines of these principal populations. Similar declines and even extinctions have already been observed in other nearby islands. There has been similar pressure on Ishigaki to build an airport and holiday resort. Publicity about the plight of these bats resulted in increased public interest, including increased tourism to the breeding caves.
The species is affected by deforestation in Thailand (S. Bumrungsri pers. comm.), and in Vietnam there is ongoing decline in the quality of habitat through disturbance from tourism and habitat destruction (N. Furey pers. comm.). In Cat Ba in Vietnam, tourism disturbance is heavy (N. Furey pers. comm.). In Thailand areas around protected areas are deforested and the areas themselves are degraded.

Conservation Actions:

In Japan the areas around some sites are national forests. There has been pressure to protect important roost sites and associated habitat. Fences were erected at the cave entrances to control tourists, and a small area originally designated for development was proposed as a reserve (Hutson et al. 2001). It is listed as Endangered (EN) in the Japanese Red List (2007).

In Vietnam three of the five known sites are protected and a new site is proposed (N. Furey pers. comm.).