Hardwickes lesser mousetailed bat

Rhinopoma hardwickei

TAXONOMY

Rhinopoma hardwickei Gray, 1831, India. Two subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Smaller than some other mouse-tailed species and larger than others. Forearms ranging in length from 2.0 to 2.5 in (5.2 to 6.4 cm); weighing 0.40.5 oz (11-14 g).

DISTRIBUTION

Lesser mouse-tailed bats are found in North Africa (Morocco and Senegal to Egypt, Somalia, and Kenya), the middle east (Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen), Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, as well as on Socotra Island.

Rhinopoma hardwickei

Rhinopoma hardwickei

HABITAT

A species of more arid areas, lesser mouse-tailed bats are also found in habitats ranging from deserts to dry woodland.

BEHAVIOR

Lesser mouse-tailed bats roost in hollows (caves, mines, pyramids, wells, buildings) and their colonies often number in the thousands of individuals. Roosting in groups numbering from one to 10 also are common. These bats retire to sheltered roosts in extremely hot weather. During these periods they may be relatively inactive, depending upon accumulated fat deposits for energy and water.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

These bats eat flying insects (moths, beetles, and neuropterans) which they detect and track using echolocation. When several individuals forage together, different ones use echolocation calls dominated by different frequencies. This jamming avoidance behavior may minimize interference between bats.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Female lesser mouse-tailed bats bear a single young annually after a gestation period of 90-100 days. Maximum lifespan ranges between 1 to 2 years. Thought to be polygamous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Rated by IUCN as Lower Risk/Least Concern.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Lesser mouse-tailed bats eat insects, many of which are considered pests by humans.

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