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

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3









Family : Rhinolophidae
Species : Rhinolophus stheno

Forearm Length : up to 4.8 cm
Weight : up to 11 grams

The Lesser Brown Horseshoe Bat inhabits hill and lowland forest including primary forest, disturbed secondary forest and dry forest. The sonogram shown in Figure 3 (see caption) suggests it may also occur in degraded coastal forest.

This small bat feeds on flying insects, and is known to roost in rock crevices, caves and hollow trees.

The species possesses a simple, dark noseleaf and moderately large ears. Its fur is of medium length, dark brown to reddish brown or orange in colour, and somewhat paler on the belly. The wings are dark brown.

This species is somewhat uncommon but reportedly occurs in many parts of mainland Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia. In insular Southeast Asia it occurs on the islands of Sumatra and Java. There are no unequivocal records from Singapore, where the species is listed as 'indeterminate'.

Figs 1 and 2 : Roosting inside an abandoned building in lowland primary forest at Taman Negara, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia.  This specimen is tentatively assigned as a Lesser Brown Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus stheno based on fur colour, a simple noseleaf, facial skin and noseleaf colour, and ear size.

Fig 3 : Constant frequency (CF) call with a peak frequency of 86.1 kHz recorded at the edge of dry, coastal forest at Tanjong Jara, Terennganu, Peninsular Malaysia. (The frequency scale, on the left side, is from 38 to 124 kHz, and the time scale at bottom is 0-180 milliseconds). This call is identified as Rhinolophus stheno as the peak frequency exactly matches that defined by Kingston et al (2000).

References : M5, M6

Kingston, T., Jones, G., Zubaid, A. & Kunz, T. H. (2000). Resource partitioning in rhinolophoid bats revisited. Oecologia, 124(3), 332-342.