Habitat

The Rhinolophidae occur throughout the temperate and tropical zones of the Old World, being found in a great variety of habitats at both high and low altitudes. They are found in forest, woodland, savanna, scrub, open areas, and sometimes even in deserts, but it seems that the availability of suitable shelters for daytime roosting, nurseries, and hibernation is often a more important factor governing habitat suitability than is the type of vegetation occurring in the occupied area. The variety of sites used for such shelters is extensive, and includes caves, rock outcrops and crevices, overhangs, mines, tunnels, buildings (disused and occupied), cellars, culverts, hollow trees, and dense foliage. Hildebrandt's horseshoe bat of eastern Africa even uses disused aardvark (Orycteropus afer) and warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) holes for daytime roosts, but also roosts in hollow trees, especially the baobab (Adan-sonia digitata), and buildings.

Forest-inhabiting species include the rufous horseshoe bat (R. rouxii), whose diurnal roosts tend to be humid and include caves, tunnels, hollow trees, wells, temples, old houses, and barns. The little-known little Nepalese horseshoe bat (R. sub-badius) is recorded from bamboo clumps in dense jungle. Although Blyth's horseshoe bat (R. lepidus) is normally associated with forested country, it is also recorded from a desert biome in India; its diurnal roosts include subterranean silos. The woolly horseshoe bat occurs in dense forests on precipitous mountains in the Kathmandu Valley, where it roosts in caves. The lesser woolly horseshoe bat is also restricted to forest, where it roosts in hollow trees, small caves, and under ledges; it also uses dungeons, old houses, barracks, and tunnels. The trefoil horseshoe bat (R. trifoliatus) of southern, southeastern Asia and Malaysia lives in dense evergreen jungle and roosts in thick foliage. Lander's horseshoe bat (R. landeri) of Africa is predominantly a forest species but in the south of its range it inhabits savanna woodland with riverine vegetation and

An agitated large-eared horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus philippinensis) hanging from a branch at Peach Creek, Cape York, northern Australia. (Photo by B. G. Thomson/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

well-watered areas. The presence of substantial shelters (caves, mines, boulders, hollow trees) is probably a critical habitat requirement.

The African endemic Ruppell's horseshoe bat (R. fumiga-tus) is widespread in African open savanna woodland but is absent from desert and semidesert areas. In contrast, Geof-froy's horseshoe bat (R. clivosus), which occurs in Africa and Asia, inhabits savanna woodland but also occurs in deserts. In southern Africa its absence from semidesert parts of Botswana may be due to the lack of suitable roosting sites such as caves, rock crevices, and mines. The bushveld horseshoe bat (R. simulator) of African savanna woodland is dependent on the availability of caves and mine shafts for shelter.

Some horseshoe bat species occur in association with man. The greater horseshoe bat uses caves but has adapted to larger buildings for nurseries, especially in the northern parts of its European range, while in southern Asia it roosts in temples, outhouses, and ruins. Also in Europe, the nurseries of the lesser horseshoe bat are predominantly in warm caves on southern regions, but mostly in roofs of buildings in the north. This species hibernates in caves, mines, and cellars.

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