Rhinolophus mehelyi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Rhinolophidae

Scientific Name: Rhinolophus mehelyi Matschie, 1901
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Mehely's Horseshoe Bat
French Rhinolophe de Mehely
Spanish Murciélago Mediano de Herradura

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A4c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-25
Assessor(s): Alcaldé, J., Benda, P. & Juste, J.
Reviewer(s): Piraccini, R.
Contributor(s): Hutson, A.M., Spitzenberger, F., Aulagnier, S., Palmeirim, J., Paunović, M. & Karataş, A.
The species is declining throughout its range, which is becoming increasingly fragmented. The rate of decline has been estimated as 10% in the last 10 years in Andalucia (Spain). Elsewhere, declines have not been quantified but appear to have been considerable, with some colonies having been reduced to a fraction of their former size. Overall, declines throughout the global range are thought likely to exceed 30% over 3 generations (27 years) over a time window including both the past and the future. The species is going extinct in France and is declining in Morocco due to disturbance in caves. The species only roosts in caves and abandoned mines and does not use other artificial roosts. Hence the species is listed as Vulnerable.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Rhinolophus mehelyi is largely restricted to the Mediterranean. It has a discontinuous distribution from north Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt) and southern Europe (southern Portugal and Spain, possibly one occurrence in France, a few places in Italy and the Balkans) through Asia Minor, Anatolia, to Transcaucasia, Iran and Afghanistan (where its exact roost location is not known: Srinivasulu et al. in press).

A single male specimen was recently found by Dondini et al. 2014 in Apulia, Italy, where this bat has not been recorded since 1960.  This species has also been recorded for the first time in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq by Al-Sheikhly et al. 2015 within a mountain cave used as a breeding site.

It is patchily distributed in some large and vulnerable colonies. It occurs up to 2,000 m Asl in High and Saharan Atlas mountains, although it is typically found at lower altitudes in other parts of its range (e.g. in Spain it tends to occur below 700 m).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Algeria; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Egypt; Georgia; Greece; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy (Sardegna, Sicilia); Jordan; Libya; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Morocco; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovenia; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey
Regionally extinct:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:An infrequent species, which is reported to have declined in all parts of its range for which data are available. In Andalucia (Spain), the rate of decline has been estimated at 10% over the last ten years. The species is close to extinction in France (Rodrigues and Palmeirim 1999), Romania (Botnariuc and Tatole 2005), and north-east Spain (J. Juste and J. T. Alcalde pers. comm. 2006). In France, only one individual was recorded in 2004 (S. Aulagnier pers. comm. 2006), and in Romania the population was estimated at 5,000 in the 1950s, but now numbers approximately 100 (Dumitrescu et al. 1962-1963, Botnariuc and Tatole 2005). It is also declining in southern Spain (Franco and Rodrigues 2001), Portugal (Rodrigues et al. 2003), the Russian Federation (K. Tsytsulina pers. comm. 2005), Georgia, and Morocco (SW Asia Workshop 2005). In Iran mixed-species colonies including R. mehelyi, which in the 1970s were estimated to be over 10,000 individuals, now only number a few hundred individuals (M. Sharifi pers. obs. 2005). Summer nursery colonies typically number 30-500 individuals (although colonies of up to 3,000 individuals have been recorded, separated in smaller groups within the same cave). Winter clusters consist of up to 5,000 animals.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Mehely's Horsehoe Bat (Rhinolophus mehelyi) forages in Mediterranean shrubland and woodland, in dry steppes and particularly link to water bodies (Salsamendi et al. 2012). It feeds mainly on moths, but can also prey on other insects. Summer roosts are in warm caves, often in karstic regions. Winter hibernacula are in colder underground sites (usually large caves with a constant microclimate). The species roosts mainly in caves and abandoned mines and does not use artificial habitats (but there is a single report of animals using an abandoned building in Bulgaria (Benda et al. 2003)). This bat is sedentary (longest distance recorded 90 km: Palmeirim and Rodrigues 1992).
Generation Length (years):9

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The species is affected by disturbance and loss of underground habitats and adequate hunting grounds, changes in foraging habitats due to agriculture, urbanization and fires, and destruction of caves by tourism. Mortality due to collision with cars is a problem in some areas (e.g. Portugal). The reasons for the declines are not fully understood.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is protected by national legislation in all European range states. There are also international legal obligations for its protection through the Bonn Convention (Eurobats) and Bern Convention where those apply. It is included in Annex II (and IV) of EU Habitats and Species Directive, and hence requires special measures for conservation including designation of Special Areas for Conservation. There is some habitat protection through Natura 2000 (some roosts are already protected by national legislation). An EU-LIFE funded project aims to ensure the long-term conservation of the large populations of cave and forest-dwelling bats, including this species, in Spain. There are no specific conservation measures in place in North Africa.

Research is required on the causes of the declines across the range.

Citation: Alcaldé, J., Benda, P. & Juste, J. 2016. Rhinolophus mehelyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T19519A21974380. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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