Rhinolophus rhodesiae, ROBERTS, 1946

Taylor, Peter J., Macdonald, Angus, Goodman, Steven M., Kearney, Teresa, Cotterill, Fenton P. D., Stoffberg, Sam, Monadjem, Ara, Schoeman, M. Corrie, Guyton, Jennifer, Naskrecki, Pitor & Richards, Leigh R., 2018, Integrative taxonomy resolves three new cryptic species of small southern African horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 184, pp. 1249-1276: 1265-1269

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Rhinolophus rhodesiae




Synonyms: None.

Holotype: TMSA 1325, adult female, collected by A. Roberts on 16 August 1913.

Type locality: ‘Southern Rhodesia’ (= Zimbabwe), Bezwe River , tributary of ‘Wanetsi’ (= Nuanetsi) River, −21.500° S, 31.167° E.


Referred specimens having molecular identifications: FMNH 228942 ( SMG 19017), female,   228943 ( SMG 19018), male, GoogleMaps   228944 ( SMG 19019), female, GoogleMaps   228945 ( SMG 19020), male, GoogleMaps   228946 ( SMG 19021), female, GoogleMaps   228948 ( SMG 19023), male, GoogleMaps   228949 ( SMG 19024), female, GoogleMaps   228950 ( SMG 19025), female, GoogleMaps   228951 ( SMG 19026), female, GoogleMaps   228952 ( SMG 19027), male, GoogleMaps   228953 ( SMG 19028), male, GoogleMaps   228955 ( SMG 19030), male, GoogleMaps   228957 ( SMG 19032), female, GoogleMaps   228958 ( SMG 19033), female, GoogleMaps   228959 ( SMG 19034), female, GoogleMaps   228960 ( SMG 19035), female, GoogleMaps   228961 ( SMG 19036), male, GoogleMaps   228962 ( SMG 19037), male, GoogleMaps   228964 ( SMG 19039), female GoogleMaps   , all collected on 2 May 2015 by S. M. Goodman, M. C. Schoeman and G. le Minter from Mozambique, Inhambane Province, Malashane Cave, 39.1 km Efrom Inhassoro, −21,668° S, 34,847° E, and situated <2 km from Chihalatan Cave referred to above.

Referred specimens having only morphological identifications: DM 7080, adult male, KwaZulu-Natal Province, Hlabeni Forest Reserve , −29.933° S, 29.766° E collected by D. Forbes on 29 July 2000; GoogleMaps   DM 12007 (adult male)   ; DM 14034 (adult male), collected by M. C. Schoeman from KwaZulu-Natal Province, Pietermaritzburg, Ferncliff Nature Reserve , Ferncliff Cave , −29.550° S, 30.320° E   ; DM 11270 (female), 11271 (male), 11272 (female), 11273 (female), 11275 (male), all collected by S. Stoffberg from Chihalatan Cave , 38.2 km Eof Inhassoro, Inhambane Province, Mozambique −21.671° S, 34.864° E   ;. DM 11275 collected on 8 August 2006 while the other specimens were collected on 3 September 2007; FMNH 228956 ( SMG 19031), collected 2 May 2015 by S. M. Goodman, M. C. Schoeman and G. le Minter from Mozambique, Inhambane Province, Malashane Cave , 39.1 km E from Inhassoro, −21,668° S, 34,847° E   ; DM 13450 (female), DM13451 (female), collected on 8 May 2012 by J. Bayliss at Mozambique, Niassa Province, Mount Mecula , −12.068° S, 37.662° E.  

Etymology: The name refers to the location in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where the type specimen was collected.

Re-diagnosis and description: Roberts (1946) described this subspecies as being slightly smaller than the nominate R. s. swinnyi   based on slightly smaller body size, slightly longer tail, smaller ears and its bright ochraceous colour. Since the last-mentioned character is known to be an environmentally induced effect in many cave-dwelling bat species, it does not serve as a diagnostic character. In our analysis, molecular evidence closely matched our series from Chihalatan and Malashane Caves with Genbank sequences from the extreme northern South Africa (Pafuri), Zimbabwe (Dambanzara) and Zambia (Kalenda and Shimalala Caves). Since these localities encompass the type locality of rhodesiae   (Bezwe River in Zimbabwe), and Pafuri is only 100 km south of Bezwe, we are confident to use this available name for this widespread taxon. The species can be further diagnosed by having echolocation peak frequencies around 100 kHz (99–102 kHz, N = 8 from Malashane Cave; Table 2 View Table 2 ), which are quite distinct from typical swinnyi   (105–107kHz, N = 6; Table 2 View Table 2 ) as well as the new Gorongosa National Park taxon R. gorongosae   sp. nov. (104–108 kHz, N = 16; Table 2 View Table 2 ). Noseleaf structure is distinctive, being characterised by a hastate lancet, not as concave as true swinnyi   , less erect, low, rounded connecting process and more pronounced posterior lobe. Bacular structure of rhodesiae   is clearly distinct from other swinnyi   -like animals (see Figs 7 View Figure 7 , 8 View Figure 8 ), being characterized by a distinctly longer tapered baculum with a distinctly broader base and shallow notchalong the lower portion of the shaft that isvisible in the lateral profile. Traditional morphometrics ( Table 2 View Table 2 ; Fig. 4 View Figure 4 ) do not differentiate rhodesiae   from swinnyi   proper; however, rhodesiae   is clearly distinguished with minimal overlap from the distinctly smaller gorongosae   sp. nov. Although quite small, the R. rhodesiae   holotype falls within the range of variation of specimens assigned to R. rhodesiae   from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, northern South Africa (Pafuri, Limpopo Province), and Zanzibar ( Table 2 View Table 2 ; Fig. 4 View Figure 4 ). It falls clearly outside (larger than) the range of variation of the smaller gorongosae   sp. nov. taxon ( Fig. 4 View Figure 4 ). Geometric morphometric results result in a better separation between rhodesiae   and swinnyi   s.s. with only minimal overlap ( Fig. 5 View Figure 5 ). Once again, the rhodesiae   holotype from Bezwe River clusters within the range of variation of the rhodesiae   taxon and outside the gorongosae   sp. nov. or swinnyi   taxa, thus validating the use of this name for this taxon.

Distribution and biology: Combined molecular and morphometric data suggest the widespread distribution of this taxon from central and northern South Africa through Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique extending to Zanzibar ( Fig. 11 View Figure 11 ). Based on specimen assignments on morphological grounds, the species co-occurs with R. swinnyi   in central KwaZulu-Natal at Ferncliff Cave, as well as occurring in close proximity in northern KwaZulu-Natal, recorded at Hlabisi Forest close to Ngome Forest where swinnyi   was recorded ( Fig. 11 View Figure 11 ). The widespread extent of this taxon and its occurrence in northern South Africa is confirmed by the widespread occurrence of a hitherto unidentified 100 kHz acoustic type recorded in the Soutpansberg ( Taylor et al., 2013), and Pafuri Region of northern Kruger National Park (Taylor & Parker, unpublished data).


USA, Illinois, Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History (also used by Finnish Museum of Natural History)