Environment Australia, 1999
ISBN 0 642 2546 363
Recovery outline: Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat
Scientific name: Rhinolophus philippinensis Waterhouse, 1843 (large form)
Common name: Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat
Conservation status: Endangered (C2a)
The taxonomy of this taxon at the species and subspecies level requires further clarification (see Taxonomy section for further discussion).
In Australia, distribution is confined to northern Queensland (eastern and coastal regions) from Paluma (near Townsville) to Iron Range on Cape York; and west to Chillagoe. R. philippinensis is common extralimitally, including south-east Asia (Flannery 1995a,b).
In Northern Queensland it is currently known from Malanda (Curtain Fig State Forest on the Atherton Tableland) to Iron Range on Cape York. There are recent western records from Chillagoe and Mitchell-Palmer Karsts.
The species roosts in caves and mines. It forages mainly in open forest and wattle dominated ridges in rainforest. It has been observed foraging close to ground with possible gleaning behaviour (Pavey 1995a,b, Whybird 1996) and at canopy height (Whybird 1996). The largest known colony contains six individuals and day roosts often contain only one or two individuals. Will form colonies with R. megaphyllus ignifer.
Reasons for decline
The human disturbance of roost sites and collapse and intentional closure of old mines is also known to have occurred. For example, the Paluma mine was closed in 1994 as part of a program to ‘Clean up the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area’, destroying the site of the most southern record of Rhinolophus philippinensis; the Old Collingwood mine at Shipton’s Flat was bulldozed to reduce the threat to public safety, however, this mine was illegally re-opened to allow a small entrance for bats, and has been successfully re-colonised by the species; gating of the Phoenician Mine on Mount Amos has forced R. philippinensis to utilise a ventilation shaft, potentially increasing the chance of predation. Over collection for museums from well-known colony sites may also have occurred and loss of habitat is also postulated.
Conservation reserves on which species occurs
Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (includes Black Mountain National Park, Cape Tribulation National Park, Crystal Creek – Mt. Spec National Park), Mitchell Palmer Goldfields Reserve, Chillagoe National Park, Iron Range National Park, Cape Melville National Park, Starke River National Park.
Other public land on which species occurs
Mt. Baldy State Forest, Goldsborough State Forest, Pine Creek State Forest, Curtain Fig State Forest, Danbulla State Forest, McIlwraith Range proposed National Park.
Other land on which species occurs
Old mines and caves on freehold/leasehold and aboriginal managed land on the east coast of Queensland from Cairns to Iron Range. Mining leases at Mt Molloy. May also occur on Silver Plains Station but roost sites have not been located. On Belle Vue and Palmer River Stations in the caves of the Mitchell/Palmer Karst area.
Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately?
Partially. Resolution of taxonomy is required.
- Clarify the current distribution and abundance of the species.
- Protect all known roosts.
- Increase understanding of the basic ecology of the species for management purposes.
- Resolve taxonomy.
Management actions completed or underway
- Bat survey within Wet Tropics World Heritage Area as part of Project Gondwana, funded by Wet Tropics Management Agency.
- Current Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service action for the protection and gating of known mine roosts and caves (where necessary).
- Molecular taxonomy ongoing at the South Australian Museum (S. Cooper and T. Reardon).
- Survey of the bats of the Mitchell/Palmer Karst area by the Central Queensland Speleological Society, Les Hall and Lana Little (Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service).
Management and research actions required
- Undertake targetted surveys for the species to clarify distribution and abundance.
- Carry out ecological research to meet recovery objectives ie. determine:
- habitat requirements;
- roost and maternity site selection;
- foraging strategy;
- population dynamics; and
- threatening processes.
- Protect and secure roost sites, including the design of a suitable bat gate.
- Clarify taxonomy.
Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Wet Tropics Management Authority.
Other organisation(s)/individuals involved
Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Queensland Department of Mines and Energy.
Can recovery be carried out with existing resources?
No. The following is required :
- Survey and ecological research $90,000
- Design and install suitable bat gates $20,000
- Resolve taxonomy (in combination with R. philippinensis – small form) $19,000
(Survey based on 2 people for 6 months 51K, expenses 17K, vehicle 12K, equipment 10K; design of bat gate based on employment of 1 person for 3 months 15K, equipment 5K; taxonomy (molecular and morphological – 4 months Technical Officer 14K, consumables 5K. To reduce costs this project could be combined with recovery actions for other species on Cape York Peninsula).
Hall L.S. and Richards G.C. 1985. Bats of Chillagoe. Tower Karst 5,13–22.
Flannery T.F. 1995a. Mammals of New Guinea. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Flannery T.F. 1995b. Mammals of South-West Pacific and Moluccan Islands. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Pavey C.R. 1995a. Large-eared Horseshoe-bat Rhinolophus philippinensis. Pp. 451–453 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Pavey C.R. 1995b. The foraging ecology of a guild of insectivorous bats (Rhinolophoidea) in eastern Australia: a test of resource partitioning theory. PhD thesis. University of Queensland, Brisbane (unpublished).
Tate G.H.H. 1952. Results of the Archbold expeditions No.67. A new Rhinolophus from Queensland (Mammalia, Chiroptera). American Museum Novitates. No. 1578, 1–3.
Whybird O.J. 1996. An investigation into the vertical stratification of the Chiroptera in tropical Queensland rainforests. BSc(Hons) thesis. University of Queensland, Brisbane (unpublished).
Authors for the species