Like most bats, Blasius's horseshoe bats use echolocation to navigate and locate prey. Echolocation calls have a signal duration of around 40 to 50 milliseconds and a distinctive constant-frequency, with a signal of 93 to 98 kHz. Information on intraspecific communication is not reported, except that females find their young with auditory and olfactory cues.
Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; echolocation ; chemical
Although R. blasii is listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN 2008 Red List, populations are still in decline, and this species has become regionally extinct in some areas, such as Italy. Threats to Blasius's horseshoe bats include loss or disruption of roosting sites and foraging habitat. Populations are uncommon in Africa, and in Europe populations are also quite limited. However, Asian populations seem healthy. Rhinolophus basii is legally protected in some areas by the international Bonn and Bern Conventions. Some nations have set up their own legislation to protect this species, and Special Areas for Conservation have been established under the guidelines of the EU Habitats and Species Directive.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Although there are no known adverse effects of R. blasii on humans, their occasional tendency to roost in attics and cellars can be seen as invasive, and therefore they can be considered by some as household pests.
Negative Impacts: household pest
The ecosystem roles of R. blasii can also have a positive impact on humans. These bats eat moths that can be agricultural and household pests. Bat guano can be used as fertilizer in gardens and on farms.
Positive Impacts: produces fertilizer; controls pest population
Because it is an insectivorous species, one important ecosystem role of R. blasii is the control of insects, mainly nocturnal moths. Bats are also known for their highly phosphorus and nitrogen rich excrement which is beneficial to soil.
Blasius's horseshoe bats are insectivorous, with a diet mainly consisting of nocturnal moths, including those of the families Lasiocampidae, Noctuidae, and Geometridae.
Animal Foods: insects
Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )
Rhinolophus blasii is found in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is widespread, but with a patchy distribution. Blasius's horseshoe bats live in many parts of southern Europe, including the Balkan peninsula, Greece, and on some Mediterranean islands such as Cyprus and Crete. They were once found in parts of northern Italy, but are now thought to be extirpated from this region. They are also found in many parts of the Middle East, including Turkey, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. They are found throughout much of Africa, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and the Transvaal region.
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native )
Blasius's horseshoe bats live in temperate climates and prefer savanna woodlands, although they are occasionally found in desert regions as well. They roost in caves, mines, under piles of boulders, and sometimes in human dwellings, roosting in attics and cellars.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; scrub forest
Other Habitat Features: caves
No specific information was found on the lifespan of Blasius's horseshoe bats, however, bats in the genus Rhinolophus can live to 6 or 7 years.
Blasius's horseshoe bats are medium sized bats with medium sized ears and broad wings. They are normally light brown with hints of grey, lilac, and cream colors in their long fur. They have distinctive horseshoe shaped noseleaves, from which horseshoe bats take their name. The noseleaf of Blasius's horseshoe bats is broad but covers only part of the muzzle. The wings are short and broad, which allows for greater maneuverability. The skull is gracile, which indicates that its diet consists of soft foods rather than the hard shelled insects eaten by bats with more robust skulls. The negative tilt of the head identifies R. blasii as a nasal emitter; their high frequency echolocation calls radiate from the nostrils as opposed to the mouth. Blasius's horseshoe bats have a 1-1-2-3, 2-1-3-3 dentition, with relatively strong, short upper canines. They are sexually dimorphic, with the female being the larger of the two sexes.
Range mass: 10 (low) g.
Average mass: 12-15 g.
Range length: 44 to 56 mm.
Average length: 46.5-54 mm.
Average wingspan: 280 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger
No specific information on the predation of R. blasii was obtained, however, one can assume that animals known to prey on other bats might also prey on this species. These include owls, snakes, and sometimes other bats. In general, bats have a fairly low rate of predation.
Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic
No information was found on mating systems of Blasius's horseshoe bats.
Many bats in the family Rhinolophidae use a system of delayed fertilization, especially species living in temperate climates. Most Rhinolophus species give birth to a single offspring. Blasius's horseshoe bats form nursery colonies in caves, with up to 200 females.
Breeding interval: Blasius' horseshoe bats breed once yearly.
Breeding season: Breeding season falls within the early wet season, which is variable from November to the earlier part of January.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 7 weeks.
Average weaning age: 4 weeks.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; sperm-storing ; delayed fertilization
In Rhinolophus species, parental care is the sole duty of the mother. After birth, mothers nurse their infants several times a day. Females have two pairs of non-lactating nipples, known as dummy teats, which the infants grasp with their hands and feet when they are carried by their mothers. Mothers generally leave their infants in nursery colonies when they forage, as carrying young can affect maneuverability during flight. Upon returning to nurseries, mothers identify their own young through special infant-mother echolocation calls and by scent. Females bats are not known for teaching their young hunting and foraging skills, but some species have been observed to provision juveniles during the fragile time between weaning and independence.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female)
Blasius's horseshoe bat was described as a new species in 1866 by German naturalist Wilhelm Peters. The holotype had been collected in Italy. The eponym for the species name "blasii" was German zoologist Johann Heinrich Blasius.
Individuals have forearm lengths of 43–48 mm (1.7–1.9 in) and weigh 7–13 g (0.25–0.46 oz), making it small for an African horseshoe bat.
Blasius's horseshoe bat is insectivorous, consuming moths, termites, beetles, and flies, among other kinds. It hunts for its prey by hawking, or catching insects on the wing, or gleaning, which means plucking insects off foliage or the ground. Its social behaviors are poorly understood, but it will roost singly or in small groups. Group foraging consisting of up to five individuals has been reported in Malawi. They have one annual breeding season, and females give birth to a single young.
Blasius's horseshoe bat has been documented at a range of elevations from 0–2,215 m (0–7,267 ft) above sea level. It has a large geographic range, though its populations are patchily distributed. Its range includes Africa, Asia, and Europe. It is extinct in Italy, and possibly extinct in Slovenia. Its habitat includes deserts, savannas, shrublands, and forests.