Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Mammals

Blasius's horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus blasii)

Description

Rhinolophus blasii is a sexually dimorphic species, as the female is larger than the male. Despite gender differences, they are medium sized bats with short, broad wings, which are ideal for maneuverability. They measure, on average 44-56mm, and usually weigh between 12 and 15 g. Blasius’s horseshoe bat has a very unique, horseshoe shaped nose, hence the name of this species. They are light brown in color, with shades of grey, lilac and cream speckled into their fur.

Habitat

Rhinolophus blasii roosts in caves or sometimes in human homes in cellars and attics. This species of bat prefers to reside in temperate climates, and can be found in woodland or shrub-land habitats, as this is where it forages. Blasius’s horseshoe bats have also been found and sighted in arid desert habitats.

Diet

Nocturnal moths are the predominant source of food for Blasius’s horseshoe bats. These bats are insectivorous and locate their prey using echolocation. When foraging, Rhinolophus blasii also use ground gleaning alongside echolocation. This method of hunting involves flying very low to the ground or vegetation and catching prey whilst in flight. Blasius’s horseshoe bats are well adapted to this method of hunting due to their short, broad wings, which aid in maneuverability.

Protection Status

The bat is currently listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List. However, a number of threats are causing its population to fall. These threats include damage, disturbance or destruction of roosting sites underground, caused, in part, by increased tourism activities in these places.

Interesting facts

The bat shares a name with Saint Blaise, he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron combs, and beheaded. He is the patron saint of wool combers. In the Latin Church his feast falls on 3 February, in the Eastern Churches on 11 February.

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