Rhinolophus hipposideros (Bechstein 1800) Lesser Horseshoe Bat Hebrew name: פרסף גמדי, parsaf gamadi
Global Threat: VU (A2c) - Vulnerable
Regional Threat: VU (B2a,C1+2a) – Vulnerable
Distribution area: The species is found in the Mediterranean, steppe and desert regions, down to the 70 mm isohyet. Most of the observations are of individuals. In Europe the lesser horseshoe bat has become extinct from several northern areas and is categorized as EN in some European countries (Stebbings 1988).
Historic distribution: Dor reported isolated individuals in the 1940s from Ramat Yohanan, Herzliyya, Jerusalem and En Hemed (in Makin 1977). Harrison (1964) found that lesser horseshoe bats are usually seen alone or in pairs at the edge of the Hula Valley, En Hemed, Bet Guvrin and En Yahav (in the Arava), (in Makin 1977). Makin (1977) reported isolated individuals throughout the Mediterranean region: Shetula, Haifa, Tiv’on, Bet Guvrin, Maresha, Te’omim Cave, Bet Nir and Ramla.
Typical Habitat: Caves, bunkers, hiding and burial caves. Feeds mainly on butterflies and moths, usually hunted around dense vegetation (Feldman 1998).
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Insecticide use in agricultural areas.
2. Human visitors to roosting and wintering caves.
Population Size: Distributed over a distribution area of circa 5000 km2. In the 1990s a maximum of 40 individuals were counted in one cave, and only in five sites were 10 lesser horseshoe bats or more counted.
Fluctuations in Population Size: The species distribution area in Israel has apparently shrunk and the population decreased.
Isolation between Subpopulations: Unknown.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: Reducing insecticide use in agriculture.