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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Bicoloured Roundleaf Bat

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4


Family : Hipposideridae
Species : Hipposideros bicolor

Forearm Length : up to 4.8 cm
Weight : up to 10 grams

The Bicoloured Roundleaf Bat is a relatively small species of Hipposideros which inhabits mainly lowland forest in many parts of Southeast Asia.

It makes use of a variety of roosts including caves, tunnels and rock crevices. The example shown here was found roosting alone in an abandoned chalet at the edge of lowland forest, and near an oil palm plantation. Some roosts of this species may contain many individuals. Its diet would comprise small flying insects.

Hipposideros bicolor is clearly a species complex, comprising three separate species. Two of these can only easily be separated on the basis of the frequency of their call - one has a peak frequency of 131 kHz and the other 142 kHz. The species illustrated here is most likely to be the 142 kHz species, which is provisionally designated as Hipposideros atrox (the 131 kHz species is designated as Hipposideros bicolor proper). The third species in the group is Hipposideros pomona (which appears to be more tolerant of disturbed habitats and is less restricted to primary forest). Reference should be made to Kingston et al (2001) and Douangboubpha et al (2010).

In photographs, bats of this group may be identified by the simple shape of the noseleaf (which lacks lateral lappets), and by close inspection of the fur colour. Individual hairs of this species are pale or whitish at the base and dark at the extremity. The hairs on the back have dark brown ends, and those on the belly have buff ends (however, some specimens may be bright orange). The ears are large and rounded.

Bats of the Hipposideros bicolor species complex occur in parts of Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi and the Philippines.

Figs 1, 3 and 4 : Example from Sungai Relau, Taman Negara, Peninsular Malaysia found roosting in an abandoned chalet.

Fig 2 : Primary lowland forest in the western part of Taman Negara, near the location of the bat in figures 1, 3 and 4.

Thanks to Noel Thomas for finding this bat.

References : M5, M6

Douangboubpha, B., Bumrungsri, S., Soisook, P., Satasook, C., Thomas, N. M. & Bates, P. J. (2010). A taxonomic review of the Hipposideros bicolor species complex and H. pomona (Chiroptera: Hipposideridae) in Thailand. Acta Chiropterologica, 12(2), 415-438.

Kingston, T., Lara, M. C., Jones, G., Akbar, Z., Kunz, T. H. & Schneider, C. J. (2001). Acoustic divergence in two cryptic Hipposideros species: a role for social selection?. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 268(1474), 1381-1386.