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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Glossy Horseshoe Bat

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7

Fig 8




Family : Rhinolophidae
Species : Rhinolophus refulgens

Forearm Length : up to 4.1 cm

The Glossy Horseshoe Bat, roosts in caves, boulder crevices, and man-made structures such as tunnels and drain culverts. The relative abundance of this species in original lowland forest can be highly variable (Kingston et al, 2006). For example, in Singapore this species is very common in primary and mature secondary forest, yet in parts of southern Peninsular Malaysia it can be locally rare in such habitats.

This is a small bat with two colour phases - one reddish-brown, the other grey. In all forms the fur is quite glossy, and the underparts are pale.

The noseleaf is elaborate and comprises a typically shaped anterior horseshoe structure, a pointed and bifurcated 'connecting process' above the sella, and a high, pointed lancet.

On the island of Tioman, which lies off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the South China Sea, this bat is regularly active by day. It is postulated that the reduced number of diurnal avian predators on the island has allowed the species to take advantage of daytime insect prey (Chua & Aziz, 2018, as Rhinolophus lepidus).

Rhinolophus refulgens is currently treated as a separate species to Rhinolophus lepidus (Blyth's Horseshoe Bat) (Soisook et al, 2016).

Rhinolophus lepidus occurs in the Indian Subcontinent, southern China and Indochina. Rhinolophus refulgens has a complimentary geographical range from southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Sumatra.

Fig 1 : This day-flying example, from Penang Island, Peninsular Malaysia, was feeding upon abundant fruit flies which were themselves attracted to the empty husks of durian fruits.

Figs 2 and 3 : Patrolling the forest searching for flying insects, in Singapore.

Figs 4 and 5 : Typical roost amongst granite boulders, in a steep, wooded valley.

Figs 6 and 7 : A reddish-brown and a greyish example, both from Singapore.

Fig 8 : Hovering briefly at the entrance to a road culvert.

References : M3

Chua, M. A. & Aziz, S. A. 2018. Into the light: atypical diurnal foraging activity of Blyth痴 horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus lepidus (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) on Tioman Island, Malaysia. Mammalia.

Soisook, P., Karapan, S., Srikrachang, M., Dejtaradol, A., Nualcharoen, K., Bumrungsri, S., ... & Bogdanowicz, W. (2016). Hill forest dweller: a new cryptic species of Rhinolophus in the 'pusillus group' (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) from Thailand and Lao PDR. Acta Chiropterologica, 18(1), 117-139.