Environment Australia, 1999
ISBN 0 642 2546 363
Taxon summary: Northern Leaf-nosed Bat
Scientific Name: Hipposideros stenotis Thomas, 1913
Common Name: Northern Leaf-nosed Bat
Conservation status: Data Deficient
Past range and abundance
The species was first recorded by Knut Dahl in 1895 from the Mary River in the Northern Territory: he reported that it was ‘not uncommon’ in caves of the western escarpment of Arnhem Land. It has occurred in parts of the Kimberley and the Top End of Northern Territory which receive annual rainfall of greater than 700mm. Records from north-western Queensland (Mt Isa) are in the semi-arid (400mm annual rainfall) zone and are therefore not typical. There is no historical data on abundance.
Present range and abundance
There is no evidence that the range of the species has contracted. Although the mine localities on Koolan Island have now been ‘open-cut’, pairs were found in natural roosts elsewhere on the island (McKenzie et al. 1995). In the Pine Creek area of the Northern Territory, Schulz and Menkhorst (1984, 1986) found this species only in abandoned mines, some of which have since been open-cut.
They do not roost with other cave-dwelling bat species, and are usually very sensitive to the approach of an observer, darting away before identification can be made. Thus their presence is easily overlooked. Nevertheless, only twenty-one localities are known. Since it roosts alone, in pairs or in small colonies (maternity colonies of 6–12 individuals observed), this bat may be rare, localised and/or sparse within its range.
The species generally roosts in the low humidity parts of caves. It frequently roosts in the twilight zone of small caves, tight overhangs or semi-shaded sites along cliff lines, and mine adits. It occurs in rugged range country supporting savanna woodlands to open forests of species such as Eucalyptus miniata, E. tectifica, E. tetradonta, E. latifolia with grassland or shrubland understories. Lithologies include Warton, Yampi and King Leopold sandstones, and Devonian limestone. In the Kimberley, it is usually captured along creeks and pools fringed by stands of Melaleuca leucadendron, M. argentia, Pandanus spp. and Ficus platypoda. The species has been observed in the Northern Territory feeding within centimetres of the ground surface along grass-lined vehicle tracks. It is a surface gleaner with very low wing loading, that forages against and in clutter.
Little is known about threatening processes that may be affecting this species. It is considered to be sensitive to disturbance, and is less common now in the Pine Creek area of the Northern Territory than it was in 1983. There are populations in the Prince Regent River Nature Reserve, Kakadu National Park, Katherine Gorge National Park and Litchfield National Park. Three island populations are known.
- Check identification of Mt Isa specimens.
- Carry out targetted surveys to establish conservation status and range limits.
- Carry out ecological research to determine:
- roost and maternity site selection;
- foraging strategy;
- population dynamics; and
- threatening processes.
- Review status based on knowledge gained through the above actions.
Churchill S.K. 1991. The ecology of the Orange Horseshoe Bat, Rhinonicteris aurantius. M.Sc. thesis, Department of Anatomy, University of Queensland, Brisbane (unpublished).
Hall L.S. 1995. Northern Leafnosed-bat, Hipposideros stenotis. pp. 463 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
McKenzie N.L., Fontanini L., Lindus N.V. and Williams M.R. 1995. Biological inventory of Koolan Island, Western Australia. 2. Zoological Notes. Records of the Western Australian Museum 17, 249–266.
Parker S.A. 1973. An annotated checklist of the native land mammals of the Northern Territory. Records of the South Australian Museum 16, 1–57.
Schulz M. and Menkhorst K. 1984. Notes on the Lesser Warty-nosed Horseshoe Bat (Hipposideros stenotis). Australian Bat Research News 20, 14–16.
Schulz M. and Menkhorst K. 1986. Roost preferences of cave-dwelling bats at Pine Creek, Northern Territory. Macroderma 2, 2–7.
Thomson B.G. 1991. A Field Guide to the Bats of the Northern Territory. Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
Authors for the species