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Family: Rhinolophidae

Scientific name: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

Common name: Greater horseshoe bat

IUCN status: Least Concern (LC)

MSJ Red list status: C-1


General morphology: Fur is thick and glossy, pale brown or dark orange, nose-leaf is present, the connecting process of the intermediate nose-leaf is broadly rounded above, posterior margin of posterior nose-leaf forms a wedge; lower labial plate has one groove and is divided into two parts; ears are large and lack a tragus; the second finger lacks phalanges, plagiopatagium is attached to the base of the metatarsal, ankle or lower portion of the tibia (Yoshiyuki, 1989). Wings are short and broad (Yoshiyuki, 1989; Fukui et al., 2011). Females have a pair of functional pectorals and a pair of pseudomammillae anterior to the vulva. The largest rhinolophid in Japan.


Diet: Prey includes Diptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Trichoptera, Plecoptera, Odonata and Hemiptera (Kuramoto, 1972; Tomisawa, 1990; Funakoshi & Takeda, 1998; Funakoshi & Maeda, 2003; Ishida et al., 2010). Feeds mainly on Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera. Hibernating bats often prey on troglophilic moths within caves (Sano, 2006) and sometimes forage outside caves (Sano, 2001).


Habitat: Widely use natural caves, abandoned mines, bomb shelters, unused tunnels, underground channels, and buildings as day-roosts (Sawada, 1994; Sano, 2000). Most common cave-dwelling bat species in Japan.

Echolocation calls: FM-CF-FM call structure (Kinoshita et al., 2014)


Kuramoto, T. (1972). Studies on bats at the Akiyoshi-dai Plateau, with special reference to the ecological and phylogenic aspects. Bulletin of the Akiyoshi-dai Science Museum, 8, 7-119.

Kuramoto, T. (1977). Mammals of Japan (15): order Chiroptera, genus Rhinolophus. Mammalian Science, 17(2), 31-57.

Irie, T. (1982). Survey of bats in central and southern Kyushu (II)- Bats in the Hole of the New Land. Character Peninsula Nature and Culture, 2, 105-112.

Yoshiyuki, M. (1989). A systematic study of the Japanese Chiroptera. 242pp. National Science Museum: Tokyo. 

Tomisawa, A. (1990). List of moths fallen prey to bats. Journal of Research on Moths, 120, 65-68.

Sawada, I. (1994). A list of caves of bat habitation in Japan. Journal of the Natural History of Japan, 2, 53-80.

Funakoshi, K., & Takeda, Y. (1998). Food habits of sympatric insectivorous bats in southern Kyushu, Japan. Mammal study, 23, 49-62.

Sano, A. (2000). Distribution of four cave-dwelling bat species in Ishikawa Prefecture, with references to utilization of roosts. Mammalian Science, 40, 167-173. 

Sano, A. (2001). A population study of Japanese greater horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, in the Izumo mines, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Bulletin of the Mie Prefecture Science and Technology Promotion Center (Forestry), 13, 1-68.

Funakoshi, K., & Maeda, F. (2003). Foraging activity and night-roost usage in the Japanese greater horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum nippon. Mammal study. 28, 1-10. 

Sano, A. (2006). Impact of predation by a cave-dwelling bat, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, on the diapausing population of the troglophilic moth, Goniocraspidum pryeri. Ecological Research, 21, 321-324.

Ishida, M., Matsumura, S., Kinugasa, M., & Yamanaka, A.  (2010). Usage frequency of night roosts and diet preference of the greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum in the Akiyoshi-dai Plateau, Yamaguchi, Japan. Journal of the Speleological Society of Japan, 35, 11-17.

Fukui, D., Hirao, T., Murakami, M., & Hirakawa, H. (2011). Effects of treefall gaps created by windthrow on bat assemblages in a temperate forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 261(9), 1546-1552.

Kinoshita, Y., Ogata, D., Watanabe, Y., Riquimaroux, H., Ohta, T., & Hiryu, S. (2014). Prey pursuit strategy of Japanese horseshoe bats during an in-flight target-selection task. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 200(9), 799-809.

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