Overview

Distribution

Trident nose-leaf bats are found in Northern Africa and the Middle east. Asellia tridens lives in some of the hottest areas in the world, spanning the region from Morocco to northern India.

There are two sub-species, A.t. tridens and A.t. murriana. Asellia t. murriana is commonly found only from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and into Israel and Jordan, , while A.t. tridens is found on either side of the range of A. t. muriana.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )

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Range Description

Geoffroy's trident leaf-nosed bat ranges widely in the Sahara, through the Arabian peninsula and the Middle East, to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is absent from the northern parts of Morocco and Algeria, and Tunisia, and occurs south to Ethiopia and Somalia.
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Distribution in Egypt

Widespread (Nile Valley, Western Desert, central and southern Eastern Desert, Sinai).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Asellia tridens is a member of the family Rhinolophidae, which is known for its nose-leaves. The nose-leaf is distinct, with three cusps (trident) on the leaf; the outer two are blunted, whereas the central one is pointed.

There are two distinct color phases in this species, with one other variant sometimes appearing. The first phase is pale grayish-brown, and the second is pale orange-brown or silty-yellow with a whitish underside. The additional variant is described as having a reddish hue.

Some other important characteristics for identifying these bats in the field are its lack of a tragus, and its projecting tail, which can extend up to 5 mm beyond the flight membrane. Specimens are generally 66-90 mm in total length.

Range length: 66 to 90 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • Fergusun, W. 2002. Mammals of Israel. Hewlett, NY: Gefen Publishers.
  • Hoath, R. 2003. A Field Guide to Mammals of Egypt. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.
  • Pint, J., S. Pint. 2005. "Saudi Bats" (On-line). Accessed March 17, 2006 at http://www.saudicaves.com/saudibats/.
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Ecology

Habitat

Although successful in all habitats within its range, from from the desert to the Mediterranean coast, the sub-species A. t. murriana is found in some of the hottest areas of the desert where no other bats can seem to survive.

Although mainly a desert species, Asellia tridens has made some headway into coastal and mountainous regions. It roosts in a variety of sheltered areas, from caves to sheds and temples.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; scrub forest

Other Habitat Features: agricultural ; caves

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This is a gregarious and colonial species which occurs in crevices or in cliffs in arid and semi-desert habitats. It roosts in temples, caves, mines, open-wells, underground irrigation tunnels and old tombs and buildings. Forages over desert and semi-desert vegetation zones, mainly in oases. Forages by slow hawking, has been observed foraging around palm trees and buildings, and over water.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

An in-depth study of Asellia tridens gives us a good estimate of its diet. The following is a list of the main prey found in guano in Israel:

Beetles (Coleoptera): this is the main prey item in the diet of A. tridens. The diet of the other bats in the area also consisted mainly of this prey item, in fact compared to the competition; Asellia was the least successful with this particular prey item.

Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera): Asellia tridens was much better at catching this prey compared to the competition. This isn't too surprising, as many people have described their flight to be very quick and agile.

Crickets and grasshoppers (Orthoptera): Asellia tridens was also much more successful at catching these prey items than were their competitors.

Flies (Diptera): Asellia tridens was also quite successful at catching these prey items.

True bugs (Heteroptera): Asellia tridens was the worst amongst other bats in the area at catching these prey items, however, this group did not make up a significant portion of any of their diets.

Caddisflies (Trichoptera) and wasps and bees (Hymenoptera) were also found within the guano of A. tridens in the study.

Comparatively, A. tridens had the most diverse diet of all sympatric bat species, and excelled above all in their ability to catch moths and butterflies.

Animal Foods: insects

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Asellia tridens plays a large role in controlling insect populations in its habitat. Nothing is known about its parasites, except that it is host to a tick (Argas fischeri).

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • Argas fischeri

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There are no known natural predators of this species. Young in roosts may be taken by predators such as snakes or other small, agile carnivores.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

It is not known to what extent members of this species communicate with one another; however, it is likely that there is some scent communication, like pheromones, because they are mammals. In fact there is extensive use of scent marking within another Chiropteran order, Emballonuridae.

The most intriguing thing about bats must be their use of echolocation. Within the sub-order Microchiroptera all species use this as one of their primary sources of perception.

Because this species is nocturnal and insectivorous, individuals rely mainly on echolocation to locate and hunt down prey. In fact, this species' ability to negotiate through complex environments has been extensively researched, Asellia tridens can detect and avoid wires with a diameter of only .65 mm.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; ultrasound ; echolocation ; chemical

  • 1979. Echolocation and obstacle avoidance in the hipposiderid bat Asellia tridens . Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, Volume 131, Number 2: 161-167.
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Life Expectancy

No information regarding the lifespan of these bats could be found.

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Reproduction

The mating system of Asellia tridens has yet to be studied in much detail.

Not much is known about the details of mating behavior and reproduction within the species, however, the gestation period is estimated to be 9 to 10 weeks. These bats normally bear a single offspring, which is born in early June. They probably mate just before moving back to their summer roosts.

Breeding interval: Once yearly

Breeding season: Early spring

Average number of offspring: 1.

Range gestation period: 9 to 10 weeks.

Average weaning age: 4 months.

Range time to independence: 5 to 6 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 ; viviparous

No specific information is available for this species. However, as in all mammals, females care for and nourish their young until they reach independence.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Asellia tridens

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Trident leaf-nosed bats are not currently protected by any legislation, populations seem stable and the species is widespread. Like all bats, populations may be threatened by roost disturbance, pesticides, and human persecution.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Kock, D., Amr, Z., Mickleburgh, S., Hutson, A.M. & Bergmans, W.

Reviewer/s
Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 2004
    Least Concern
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Status in Egypt

Native, resident.

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Population

Population
It is a very common species, found in colonies of up to several hundred in North Africa, and in its Asian distribution it has been found in groups up to 5,000 animals.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
The main threat is the widespread use of pesticides against locusts. Human disturbance in caves and old buildings is affecting some populations.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It presumably occurs in several protected areas. Underground roost management is needed in some places. A study on the impacts of pesticides is required, especially ways in which the impact might be minimised.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There are no recorded negative economic impacts due to Asellia tridens, although it could be considered a nuisance since it at times roosts within man-made structures.

Negative Impacts: household pest

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Colonies of A. tridens can consume vast numbers of insects, which may be crop pests or disease vectors.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Trident bat

The Trident Bat or Trident Leaf-nosed Bat (Asellia tridens) is a species of bat in the family Hipposideridae. It is found in Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Iran, Israel, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen, and possibly Tanzania. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, dry savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, caves and hot deserts.

References[edit source | edit]


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