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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT

Horseshoe Bat

Horseshoe bats (the Rhinolophidae family) are a large family of bats including approximately 130 species grouped in 10 genera. They belong to the suborder Microchiroptera (microbats).

All Rhinolophids have leaf-like protuberances on their noses. In Rhinolophines species, these take the shape of a horseshoe. They emit sonar calls through these structures, which may serve to focus the sound. Most Rhinolophids are dull brown or reddish brown in color. They vary in size from small to moderately large.

Rhinolophids inhabit temperate and tropical regions. They are found in southern Europe, Africa, and Asia south to northern and eastern Australia. They are also found in many Pacific islands. All species are insectivorous, capturing insects in flight. Some species are found in large colonies in caves. Some prefer hollow trees, and others sleep in the open, among the branches of trees. Members of northern populations may hibernate during the winter. There is at least one species that is migratory. Females of some Rhinolophid species mate during the fall and store the sperm over the winter. They conceive young beginning in the spring.

Horseshoe Bat