Distribution

Horseshoe bats occur throughout the temperate and tropical zones of the Old World, from the British Isles across southern and central Europe, through Arabia and southern Asia, east to China and Japan, and throughout the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines to Australasia and western Pacific islands. They also occur throughout Africa, except in the most arid regions, but not in Madagascar. The most wide-ranging species is the greater horseshoe bat (R. fer-rumequinum), which occurs through the entire southern Palaearctic region from Great Britain across Europe, North Africa, and southern Asia east to China and Japan. In contrast, some island species have very restricted ranges. For example,

A grouping of three eastern horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus megaphyl-lus) roosting in a large tree hollow in Raluma Range, Queensland, Australia. (Photo by B. G. Thomson/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A large group of greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum). (Photo by Jose Luis G. Grande/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

the Andaman horseshoe bat (R. cognatus) is confined to three known areas on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, while R. monoceros occurs only on Taiwan and R. imaizumii only on Iriomote Island in the southern Ryukyu Islands, south of Japan. A few continental species also have very small ranges. The mitred horseshoe bat (R. mitratus) is known from only one specimen collected in Bihar, eastern India, while R. paradoxolo-phus is known by only single specimens from northern Vietnam and eastern Thailand, and in Africa the Cape horseshoe bat (R. capensis) is endemic to South Africa and R. maclaudi is confined to Guinea in West Africa.

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