Rhinolophus blasii (Peters 1866) Blasius’ Horseshoe Bat
Hebrew name: פרסף מצוי, parsaf matzuy
Global Threat: NT – Near Threatened
Regional Threat: EN (B,C) - Endangered
Distribution area: Known from only four caves in the Upper Galilee.
Historic distribution: It is difficult to identify and differentiate the medium-sized horseshoe bats, which raises doubts about past data relating to Mediterranean, Blasius’ and Mehely’s horseshoe. In the 1940s Dor (in Makin 1977) reported the species was common in Tiv’on (hundreds) and in the Ezba Cave in the Carmel, and that about 100 were found in a cave in Jerusalem. Dozens of individuals were seen in the Herzliyya Cave and isolated individuals throughout the Mediterranean region in Israel. Harrison (1964) collected several specimens from the Mediterranean region and the desert transition region - Haritoun Cave (in Makin 1977).
By the 1970s the population was small and fragmented: Makin (1977) reported one individual from the Jezreel Valley and a few individuals from a cave in the Hebron Mountains. Atallah (1977) reported a number of Blasius’ horseshoe bat pairs from the Haritoun Cave (in Makin 1977).
Typical Habitat: Roosts in deep caves and forages in moist Mediterraniean woodland (Moskin 1993).
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Insecticide use in agricultural areas.
2. Human visitors to roosting and wintering caves.
Factors that led to population reduction in the past:
1. In the 1940s and 1950s: bat collection by scientists (including shooting).
2. From the 1960s to the mid-80s: poisoning by activity to eliminate fruit bats in shared caves.
Population Size: The species is known from only four caves in the Upper Galilee, in which the total number of Blasius’ horseshoe bats is less than 1500.
Fluctuations in Population Size: The population decreased drastically during the 1950s and 1960s. The species is on the verge of extinction in Israel.
Isolation between Subpopulations: Unknown.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Reducing insecticide use.
2. Protect roosting and wintering caves.