Hipposideros semoni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Hipposideridae

Scientific Name: Hipposideros semoni Matschie, 1903
Common Name(s):
English Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat, Semon's Roundleaf Bat
Taxonomic Notes: The type locality of Hipposideros semoni is near Cooktown in Queensland, Australia (Mahoney and Walton 1988). Both the identity and taxonomic affinity of the handful of specimens attributed to H. semoni from across Papua New Guinea are currently being investigated, but so far specimens either side of the Torres Strait appear to be the same species (K.N. Armstrong unpublished data).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-02-14
Assessor(s): Armstrong, K. & Aplin, K.
Reviewer(s): Piraccini, R.

Hipposideros semoni is recorded from both Papua New Guinea and northern Queensland, Australia. It has been listed as Endangered since 2001 under national environmental legislation in Australia because of its apparent rarity and past reductions in habitat. More recent views of the Australian population have matched it against Vulnerable (B1ab(iii); Reardon et al. 2010) and Near Threatened (Woinarski et al. 2014). Lack of information was an obstacle to making a clear decision in the latter assessment—area of occupancy is not well known but is possibly ca 2,000 km², the number of known locations is thought to be < 10, total Australian population size was judged to be > 10 000 mature individuals, though with the largest subpopulation probably < 1,000 individuals—and population size was not thought to be declining at a rate >30% over a 20 year (3 generations) period. At a global scale, its presence in Papua New Guinea means that it does not currently meet the criteria for listing as threatened. A suggestion that specimens collected from Papua New Guinea are instead attributable to the morphologically-similar H. wollastoni is true for some records listed on GBIF (South Australian Museum accessions M10483–10488 are actually H. corynophyllus and H. wollastoni; T.B. Reardon and K.N. Armstrong unpublished obs.), but not all (e.g. Smithsonian Institution USNM553716 has diagnostic external morphology of H. semoni; K.N. Armstrong unpublished obs.). There is also a recent possible acoustic record from Gulf Province (K.N. Armstrong and K.P. Aplin unpublished data). Thus, while rare and seldom encountered, there is sufficient evidence that H. semoni does occur over a wide area in Papua New Guinea. The species is therefore listed as Least Concern (LC), but it needs to be reassessed following the completion of taxonomic studies.  

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The presence of H. semoni in Papua New Guinea is represented by museum specimens from near Vanimo in Sandaun (West Sepik) Province, localities in Morobe Province, and several localities around Port Moresby. Given the intactness of much of the habitat in Papua New Guinea, it might have a broad distribution, though occur at low density given that numerous surveys in recent years in several provinces have not produced captures. Acoustic detection in Papua New Guinea, the most efficient way to assess area of occupancy, is hindered by a lack of information on the similarity of its call to other closely related New Guinea Hipposideros (K.N. Armstrong and K.P. Aplin unpublished data). In Australia, the majority of recent records are from the eastern side of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland—Iron Range, Kulla, Oyala Thumotang and Cape Melville National Parks, near Cooktown and south to Townsville (Reardon et al. 2010; Woinarski et al. 2014). There is also a single report of a disjunct occurrence ca 700 km further south in Kroombit Tops National Park (south of Gladstone, Queensland; Schulz and de Oliveira 1995), and an unconfirmed and likely erroneous acoustic record as far south as Maryborough (de Oliveira and Pavey 1995; probably from Rhinolophus megaphyllus). It ranges from sea level such as at Cape Melville National Park, Queensland to over 1,400 m Asl in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.

Countries occurrence:
Australia; Papua New Guinea
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


H. semoni is generally considered to be uncommon and occurring at low density because it is encountered rarely, but it can be captured or recorded if targeted in rainforest habitats in Australia (Hall 2008; Reardon et al. 2010; K.N. Armstrong unpublished data). There have been no attempts at census in Australia, and estimates need to consider that animals have been observed seasonally in drier, open woodlands on Cape York Peninsula as well as rainforest patches (Hall 2008). There is opinion that numbers are greater than previous estimates of <2,500 on Cape York Peninsula, and that it is relatively secure in this region (Reardon et al. 2010). For populations further south, there are contrasting views on whether a decline has occurred in the past, and factors that may have caused such a decline have not been demonstrated, but habitat modelling suggests that a decline in the south is likely over the next 50 years (Dennis 2012; Woinarski 2014).

There is no information on population size or connectedness in Papua New Guinea, though numerous surveys in the past five years across several provinces have only produced a single putative acoustic record (Armstrong and Aplin 2011, 2014; Armstrong et al. 2015; K.N. Armstrong and K.P. Aplin unpublished data).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This species is found in rainforest, savanna forest, and dry open areas. It roosts in caves and overhangs, mines, old buildings, culverts under roads, and tree hollows (Bonaccorso 1998; Hall 2008). In Australia, it apparently uses the thin strips of rainforest vegetation in riparian zones of major rivers to move out from larger patches of occupied rainforest habitat (K.N. Armstrong unpublished obs.). It is not known to form larger roosting aggregations like other hipposiderids species, instead roosting singly or in small groups of up to ten individuals (Hall 2008). Females give birth to single young around November (Churchill 2008). Females are larger and produce echolocation calls with a lower frequency compared to males. Generation length is around 6–7 years (Woinarski et al. 2014).


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Major threats to this species have not been observed to operate but several are considered plausible (Woinarski et al. 2014). Disturbance and loss of roost sites is thought to be a threat but of relatively low risk, with broader scale effects from inappropriate burning regimes and fragmentation and modification of habitat from pastoralism and other land uses more likely to have an effect on the area of occupancy and range of Hipposideros semoni in Australia. Predation by feral cats is also regarded as a threat, albeit a minor one (Woinarski et al. 2014). In Queensland, there was a gradual reduction in vegetation clearing that peaked in 2009, but changes in policy and legislation since that time have once more led to an increase (Maron et al.2015). Such a trend reversal, coupled with inappropriate fire management of native bushland has the potential to result in further losses of habitat for this species. There are no recognised threats in Papua New Guinea.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

A Recovery Plan has been developed for Hipposideros semoni in Australia (Thomson et al. 2001). It is found in several protected areas in Queensland, and is listed under national environmental legislation in Australia as a threatened species. Taxonomic studies need to be completed, and further studies are needed into the distribution (particularly within New Guinea), abundance, natural history, and threats to this species.

Citation: Armstrong, K. & Aplin, K. 2017. Hipposideros semoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T10160A22102711. . Downloaded on 23 October 2017.
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