Rhinolophus megaphyllus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Rhinolophidae

Scientific Name: Rhinolophus megaphyllus Gray, 1834
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Horseshoe Bat, Smaller Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus fallax K. Andersen, 1906
Rhinolophus ignifer Allen, 1933
Rhinolophus monachus K. Andersen, 1905
Rhinolophus vandeuseni Koopman, 1982
Taxonomic Notes: Synonyms were reviewed by Csorba et al. (2003), however Rhinolophus megaphyllus is now considered to be restricted to Australia and Papua New Guinea. The taxa R. robinsoni Andersen, 1918 (includes klossi K. Andersen, 1918; and thaianus Hill, 1992 listed as synonyms of megaphyllus by Csorba et al. 2003) and R. keyensis Peters, 1871 (includes truncatus Peters, 1871; nanus K. Andersen, 1905; and simplex K. Andersen, 1905 listed as synonyms of megaphyllus by Csorba et al. 2003) were subsequently considered distinct species by Simmons (2005). There is an unresolved relationship with Australasian forms of R. philippinensis (Cooper et al. 1998) that is currently being resolved (K.N. Armstrong unpublished data).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-07-31
Assessor(s): Armstrong, K. & Aplin, K.
Reviewer(s): Piraccini, R.

This species is listed as Least Concern given its wide distribution, use of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population size, occurrence in protected areas, and the absence of significant key threats or evidence for a decline.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species ranges from the island of New Guinea (Papua New Guinea only; R. m. fallax K. Andersen, 1906), the Bismarck Archipelago (islands of New Britain and New Ireland, Papua New Guinea; R. m. vandeuseni Koopman, 1982); the D’Entrecasteaux Islands (Papua New Guinea; R. m. fallax K. Andersen, 1906), the Louisiade Archipelago (Papua New Guinea; monachus K. Andersen, 1905), and throughout eastern Australia from Cape York to Victoria (ignifer Allen, 1933 and the nominate subspecies; Flannery 1995a,b; Bonaccorso 1998). It occurs from sea level up to 1,600 m Asl. On the New Guinea mainland it can be difficult to detect acoustically because echolocation call frequency is similar to that of R. arcuatus (Leary and Pennay 2011; Robson et al. 2012; K.N. Armstrong and K.P. Aplin unpublished data) and the geographic variation in call frequency in both species has not been documented. Its range has expanded in Victoria, Australia in the past 100 years because of mine adits. In contrast, in southern Australia it's echolocation calls are distinctive and can not be confused with other species.  Its range has expanded in Victoria, Australia in the past approximately 100 years, extending its distribution westwards by over 200 km, through the use of abandoned mine adits (Kerle 1979).

Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria); Indonesia (Lesser Sunda Is., Maluku, Papua); Papua New Guinea (Bismarck Archipelago)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


It is locally common in suitable habitats within Australia and New Guinea, and relatively abundant in New Ireland and New Britain, and islands of Milne Bay. Local abundance is determined by the presence of suitable subterranean roosts. There has been no detailed systematic census in any part of its range, though demographic studies in south-east Queensland were conducted by banding (Young 2001).

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Rhinolophus megaphyllus roosts in caves and other analogous underground structures, in colonies of up to 5000 individuals, but more often less than 50. It is generally associated with closed forest habitats and warm humid roosting sites, but has also been recorded from drier vegetation types, rural gardens and plantations. They forage within stands of vegetation and flight is normally slow and fluttery. A wide variety of small insects form their diet. Males tend to be strongly philopatric to roost sites, whereas females will move to maternity sites during breeding. Males store sperm for four months before copulation, but there is no sperm storage by females prior to fertilisation. Females produce a single young, which are weaned after eight weeks by the end of January (Pavey and Young 2008).


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

They are sensitive to disturbance of their underground roost sites, especially during breeding. Local population declines may follow high levels of vegetation alteration and clearance around roost sites. The availability of suitable roost sites will also affect local occurrence, and loss of roost sites could reduce area of occupancy.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

It is present in several protected areas. The protection of underground roosts should be a priority for management, but consideration of the area and quality of foraging habitat around roosts is equally important for maintaining area of occupancy. The addition of gates over mine entrances could have a seriously detrimental effect on colony size, and an inventory of disused mines containing colonies of this species would assist management planning.

Citation: Armstrong, K. & Aplin, K. 2017. Rhinolophus megaphyllus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T19553A21993377. . Downloaded on 14 August 2018.
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