Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 January 2017 | 9(1): 9764–9767
Sumit Dookia 1, Gajendra Singh 2 & Rajlakshmi Mishra 3
1Assistant Professor, 2,3 Research Scholar, University School of Environment Management, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Sector 16-C, Dwarka, New Delhi 110078, India
email@example.com (corresponding author), firstname.lastname@example.org, 3 email@example.com
Editor: C. Srinivasulu, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. Date of publication: 26 January 2017 (online & print)
Manuscript details: Ms # 2657 | Received 29 May 2016 | Final received 04 January 2017 | Finally accepted 10 January 2017
Citation: Dookia, S., G. Singh & R. Mishra (2017). Re-sighting record of Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros fulvus Gray, 1838 (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Hipposideridae) from Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(1): 9764–9767; 9764-9767
Copyright: © Dookia et al. 2017. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.
Funding: This study was funded by Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University through FRGS to SD, STRF to GS and IPRF to RM.
Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.
Acknowledgements: We thank the dean, University School of Environment Management, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi for all facilities provided for this study. All are thankful to the State Forest Department for granting permission to conduct study vide letter with Sl. No. 3(05) to-11/CWLW/2013/33 dated 15.3.2016 and to Rajasthan State Biodiversity Board vide letter with Sl. No. F. RSBB/2015-16/1131-32 dated 9.2.2016. We sincerely thank Mr. Vigil Wilson, GGS Indraprastha University, for contributing significantly in collection of specimens from the field site. We also thank Ms. Harpreet Kaur and Mr. Tariq. A. Shah, Osmania University, Hyderabad for valuable suggestions and help in identifying the species. GS and RM are thankful to the GGS Indraprastha University for financial assistance under Short Term Research Fellowship (STRF) and Indraprastha Research Fellowship (IPRF) respectively. This study is partially supported to SD by Faculty Research Grant Scheme, GGS Indraprastha University, New Delhi vide letter no. GGSIPU/DRC/PhD/Admin/2016 dated 19.4.2016.
In India, 120 species of bats have been reported so far (Talmale & Pradhan 2009), whereas 25 species of bats have been reported from Rajasthan (Srinivasulu et al. 2013a). Out of these, 17 species are found in the Thar Desert (Prakash 1963; Sinha 1979; Dookia 2004; Senacha & Dookia 2013).
Of these 17 species, five species of bats—Greater False Vampire Bat Megaderma lyra, Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros fulvus, Indian Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros lankadiva, Dormer’s Pipistrelle Scotozous dormeri and Egyptian Free-tailed Bat Tadiarida aegyptiaca—were not reported since 1979 from the Thar Desert (Senacha 2003; Senacha & Dookia 2013). Bat species are highly habitat specific and require specific temperatures and humidity for roosting.
On 31 October 2015, during regular sighting surveys for bats in the outskirts of Jodhpur City, a large colony (more than 2000 individuals) of genus Rhinopoma was found inside a multichannel cave. The cave was located near Daijar Village, 25km north of Jodhpur City, in the premises of an ancient temple (Images 1, 2 and 5). The maximum ambient air temperature of Jodhpur is 490C in summer and minimum 10C in winter. A thorough search inside the cave and its channels revealed the presence of more than 20 individuals of leaf-nosed bats in a separate chamber in one of the closed channels. These individuals, bearing typical characteristics of leaf-nosed bats, were roosting inside a man-made cave near Daijar (26023’49.14”N & 73003’8.19”E). There are many mythological stories associated with the origin of the cave but the actual natural history of the place is not known.
All these individuals were scanned, and two males and one female were captured with the help of a scoop net. At first glance, on the basis of the structure of their noseleaf, they were identified to be members of the Hipposideridae family (Images 3 & 4). Morphometric measurements were taken (Table 1). The individuals were photographed, and one male individual was collected and preserved at University School of Environment Management, GGS Indraprastha University (voucher specimen IPU-Chiro-RJ-51). Cranio-dental measurements were taken using digital vernier calipers nearest to 0.01mm. The specimen was preserved using standard protocol for further analysis of the baculum and DNA. On the basis of the morphological measurements, the specimen was identified as Hipposideros fulvus.
Interestingly, many body morphometric measurements were smaller than reported by Bates & Harrison (1997) and Srinivasulu et al. (2010), whereas wing morphometrics were found to be within the range. The area has very high temperature in comparison with the rest of the localities in the distribution range of this species within the country. Further studies are needed to ascertain if this could be a possible reason for the smaller size of bat specimen of this species.
In the past, Hipposideros fulvus was first reported only from one locality in Jodhpur in the Thar Desert in 1979 (Sinha 1979), the same was re-quoted by Sinha (1980), Gaur (1981), Bates & Harrison (1997), Srinivasulu et al. (2013a). After the initial sighting report it has not been reported in any publication from anywhere in the Thar Desert and since 2002 it has been mentioned as having locally disappeared from the entire Thar Desert (Purohit & Senacha 2002, 2004a,b; Purohit et al. 2006; Senacha & Dookia 2013). Hence, the present voucher (IPU-Chiro-RJ-51) based information confirms the presence of H. fulvus from this part of the Thar Desert after 37 years.
Hipposiderid bats have a short muzzle with a complex noseleaf that bears a horizontal horseshoe surrounding the nostrils, thrown into skin folds and associated leaflets lacking a sella and connecting processes, and with a well-developed tail enclosed in the interfemoral membrane (Hill et al. 1986). The members of the bicolor group (Hill 1963) of genus Hipposideros are characterized externally by large rounded ears lacking any sharply defined point or any definite fold or thickening at the antitragal lobe; by the absence of lateral supplementary leaflets beneath the antero-lateral margin of the anterior leaf, which has a shallow median emargination, and by the expansion of the internarial septum to form a small, disc-like structure just anterior to the nostrils (Hill & Yenbutra 1984).
The Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat is a medium to small species of bicolor group of the genus Hipposideros with characteristically very large ears, the tips of which are broadly rounded. The forearm length averages 40.4mm (38.4–44.0 mm) and the pelage is variable in colour including dull yellow, pale grey, dull brown and golden-orange (Bates & Harrison 1997). It is endemic to South Asia and is known from Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (Simmons 2005). In India, it is known from Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh (Bates & Harrison 1997; Molur et al. 2002; Srinivasulu et al. 2013b).
The colony was located in the month of October at the onset of winter and its presence was reconfirmed in three more consecutive surveys, the last being on 09 March 2016. For further demographic data collection of this small population as well as ecological information on roosting location, various subsequent visits were made. The colony was found roosting in the cave, and there is a possibility that it might be using it as a winter roost. The cave is man-made in nature having three separate openings, out of which one opening of about 0.914x1.219 m is accessible whereas other openings are closed with the help of boulders. From the inside, the cave has various chambers and gullies in between. A few of these chambers are easily accessible and the rest have very narrow passages, hence it was not possible to reach into these areas of the cave. The nearest human settlement is 700m from the cave and a priest stays here for service to the temple.
In the last 3–4 decades, there has been a massive increase in canal irrigation and relative humidity in the entire Thar Desert, because of which the land use system has changed from single cropping to double cropping leading to various modifications in the ecological system. These ecological changes have influenced the introduction of a new record for bats in the Thar Desert, whereas loss of four species is also recorded so far, excluding Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat, which is reported in this study. In recent years, two species of bats, namely, Short-nosed Fruit Bat Cynopterus sphinx and Geoffroy’s Trident Leaf-nosed Bat Asellia tridens, were recorded from the Thar Desert. The former was reported from Bhinmal (Jalore District) (Dookia 2004), Lathi (Jaisalmer District) and Tinwari (Jodhpur District) (Senacha et al. 2006), while the latter was reported from Gajroop Sagar (Jaisalmer District) (Senacha & Dookia 2013).
The discovery of a roosting colony of H. fulvus observed over a period of five months in this ancient cave is quite noteworthy and very important from the conservation point of view. The cave is in the base of a small hill range, which has legal as well as many illegal open cast stone quarries (Image 5), and the mode of stone extraction involves low level use of explosives as and when necessary. This seems to be one of the major concerns that may be creating some disturbance for the roosting species. Since the cave is situated near the temple, devotees and tourists visit the site frequently. It is the urgently needed to use this opportunity to create awareness about the species and about bats in general.
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