Family: Rhinolophidae

Scientific name: Rhinolophus cornutus

Common name: Japanese little horseshoe bat

IUCN status: Least Concern (LC)

MSJ Red list status: C-2


General morphology: General form is similar to R. ferrumequinum, but is remarkably small. The fur is thick and glossy, pale brown or dark orange; the connecting process of the intermediate nose-leaf is sharply pointed above; lower labial plate has three grooves and is divided into four parts; ears are large and lack a tragus; wings are short and broad, the second finger lacks phalanges, plagiopatagium is attached to ankle or tibia (Yoshiyuki, 1989). Wing aspect ratio is 5.00 (Yokoyama et al., 1975). Females have a pair of pseudomammillae anterior to the vulva. 


Diet: The prey includes Diptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Trichoptera, Orthoptera and Araneae (Kuramoto, 1972; Funakoshi & Uchida, 1978; Funakoshi & Takeda, 1998). Feed mainly on Lepidoptera and Diptera (Funakoshi & Takeda, 1998). During hibernation, they feed on camel crickets (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae) within caves and prey mainly on Diptera (e.g. Mycetophilidae, Tipulidae, and Trichoceridae emerged in winter and early spring) outside the cave (Funakoshi & Uchida, 1978; Funakoshi & Uchida, 1980).


Habitat: Roost mainly in natural caves, abandoned mines, unused tunnels, bomb shelters, and underground culverts (Sano, 2000; Sawada, 1994), and in abandoned houses on rare occasions (Satoh et al., 2012).


Echolocation calls: long duration; FM-CF-FM call structure (Funakoshi, 2010)



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.

Yokoyama, K., Uchida, T., & Shiraishi, S. (1975). Functional morphology of wings from the standpoint of adaptation for flight in Chiroptera, 1: Relative growth and ossification in the forelimb, wing loading, and aspect ratio. Zoological Magazine, 84, 233-247.

Funakoshi, K., & Uchida, T. (1978). Studies on the physiological and ecological adaptation of temperate insectivorous bats: II. Hibernation and winter activity in some cave-dwelling bats. Japanese Journal of Ecology, 28(3), 237-261.

Funakoshi, K., & Uchida, T. A. (1980). Feeding activity of the Japanese lesser horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus cornutus cornutus, during the hibernation period. Journal of Mammalogy, 61(1), 119-121.

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 the utilization of roosts. Mammalian Science, 40, 167-173. 

Funakoshi, K. (2010). Acoustic identification of thirteen insectivorous bat species from the Kyushu District, Japan. Mammalian Science, 50(2), 165-175.

Satoh, A., Katsuta, S., Miyake, T., Ohba, T., Yamamoto, Konogaya, N., Takayama, Y., Sasaki, A., Fujii, N., & Torii, H. (2012). Bat Fauna in Middle-western Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Natural History of the Tokai District, 5, 51-68.

Oohata, J. (2011). Bats in abandoned mine at Kawahira in Gohtsu City, Shimane Prefecture. Bulletin of the Shimane Nature Museum of Mt. Sanbe, 9, 89-98.


The Island Bat Research Group (IBRG) is an international multi-disciplinary unit. It has been involved for several years in the research and conservation of endangered insular bats in Japan and other island countries.


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© 2018 by Christian E. Vincenot.

Picture featured on this website were shot by members of the group, but also by close friends and collaborators. Therefore, reuse of these pictures is subject to prior approval by the IBRG to insure proper credit can be given to authors.