Distribution and new records of cave-dwelling bats in the Central Zagros Mountains, Lorestan province, Iran

Document Type : Research articles


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University

2 Razi University


Data on distribution and fauna of cave-dwelling bat species from Iran is infrequent. Recent studies in certain parts of the country especially the western and southwestern regions demonstrated a high level of species richness for chiropteran fauna. Since Lorestan province is located in the middle of Zagros mountain ranges, and a considerable number of bat species are living in the adjacent provinces; it is expected that Lorestan also harbors a great number of bat species. In the present study, 49 caves were investigated of which 48 caves were found to be occupied by 1 to 3 bat species. Bats were identified using identification keys, measured, photographed, and then released. A total number of 68 records from 11 species was documented in this study. The identified species include Rhinopoma hardwickii, R. muscatellum and R. microphyllum from family Rhinopomatidae, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Rh. hipposideros, Rh. euryale, Rh. mehelyi and Rh. blasii from family Rhinolophidae, Myotis blythii and M. capaccinii from Vespertilionidae family, and Miniopterus pallidus from Miniopteridae family. Rh. ferrumequinum with 19 observation records had the highest distributional range. Furthermore, the biggest colony comprising several thousands of individuals of R. microphyllum was observed in Khofash Big Cave. Myotis capaccinii, Rhinopoma microphyllum, Rhinolophus blasii, and Rh. mehelyi were observed for the first time in Lorestan province.