The Schneider’s leaf-nosed bat Hipposideros speoris (Schneider, 1800) is a small-sized bat and one of the 13 species of South Asia and 83 species of leaf-nosed bats (Hipposideridae) of the world (Bates and Harrison 1997), (Murray et al. 2012). Hipposideros speoris is known only from Uttarakhand, peninsular India and Sri Lanka (Figure 1); it has been recorded up to 1385 m above sea level (asl) (Bates and Harrison 1997), (Molur et al. 2002). It inhabits dry plains to hill crevices in caves, disused buildings, underground tunnels, old bridges, old forts and palaces. It roosts in colonies ranging from 50 to 1000 individuals; males and females live together for most of the year; their insectivorous diet includes coleopterans, dipterans and other insects (Bates and Harrison 1997), (Molur et al. 2002).
Recently, the authors examined the Hipposideros bat collections housed in the National Zoological Collections of the Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, India and found a single specimen of a bat registered (No. 18562) and tagged as a male Hipposideros speoris speoris (Schneider), collected from Prome, Burma (presently known as Pyay, Myanmar) by Dr. J. Anderson in 1868 (Figure 2A). The specimen preserved in alcohol was re-examined and confirmed as a male of H. speoris based on the keys provided by Bates and Harrison (1997). The skull of the specimen was not extracted in order to keep it intact for further studies.
External characters: The single specimen of Hipposideros speoris of Pyay, Myanmar has a forearm length of 52.97 mm, whereas the specimens from India and Sri Lanka were reported to have forearm lengths of 50.7 mm (range 45.6–54.0 mm) (Bates and Harrison 1997). The head and body length is 55.16 mm (Pyay, Myanmar) versus 54.7 mm (range 46.0–62.0 mm) (India and Sri Lanka); the tail length measures 23.90 mm (Pyay, Myanmar) versus 25.2 mm (range 20.0–29.0 mm) (India and Sri Lanka; Table 1). The three additional leaflets on the leaf-nose (outer is smaller than the other two) and well-developed lappets next to the nostrils (Figure 2B) are the external characters that distinguish this species from other Hipposideros species. A frontal sac is present above the leaf-nose. In general, H. speoris varies from gray to orange-brown, palest between the shoulders and on the ventral side, darker on the flanks and the posterior side. The baculum is tiny (length 0.57 mm) with a blunt tip and slightly expanded base (Figure 2C).
Hipposideros speoris is widespread and common in its range, known from many locations in Uttarakhand, peninsular India and Sri Lanka (Bates and Harrison 1997). However, H. speoris was not known from Myanmar and not reported by earlier authors, although the specimen from Myanmar was collected more than 100 years ago. A total of nine species of Hipposideros bats were previously reported from Myanmar, namely Hipposideros armiger (Hodgson, 1835), Hipposideros ater (Templeton, 1848), Hipposideros cineraceus (Blyth, 1853), Hipposideros diadema (E. Geoffroy, 1813), Hipposideros lankadiva (Kelaart, 1850), Hipposideros larvatus (Horsfield, 1823), Hipposideros lylei (Thomas, 1913), Hipposideros pomona (K. Andersen, 1918) and Hipposideros pratti (Thomas, 1891) (Simmons 2005, Bates et al. 2015). This new record increases this total to 10 species and mainly extends the distribution of this species 1000 km further east from the nearest known locality (Bhubaneswar, Odisha) from India.
This bat has been classified as “Least Concern” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species (Molur et al. 2008). However, this species, along with other bats, is locally threatened in some parts in its Indian range due to local bushmeat consumption and medicinal uses, and habitat loss due to roost disturbance, developmental activities and stone quarrying; no threat has been reported from Sri Lanka (Bates and Harrison 1997), (Molur et al. 2008). Additional field studies in the Pyay area and nearby in Myanmar will improve our knowledge of its present range, population status and local threats.
The authors are grateful to the Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, for his support, encouragement and for providing the necessary facilities.
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