Biospeleology of the Piemonte
(North-western Italy)

Systematic Photographic
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Chordata, Mammalia, Chiroptera

Mammalia, Chiroptera, Rhinolophidae, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (Schreber, 1774) - It is the "Ferro di Cavallo maggiore" (greater Horseshoe), with more than double size on respect to the smaller (R. hipposideros); it is a troglophile species with some races widespread in Europe, Asia and northern Africa, represented in Italy by the typical subspecies; in the Piemontese region it formed in the past large colonies, particularly at low and middle quotas. The presence of colonies, or however of bat groups, over all of Rhinolophidae, at least in the mediterranean region, has remarkable importance for the energy contribution in the cavities, some of which, for the conspicuos presence of guano, can be considered eutrophic. In some Piemontese cave, like the Dossi Cave and Bossea Cave, traces of the bats presence in the past are evident in the form of great accumulations of guano, but nowadays it's rare to observe the few Rhinolophus that remained, because of the trouble of the tourist utilisation of these cavities. The author has observed in the Bossea Cave only a specimen of this species, in the highest and remotest part of the cave where it winters from at least 6 years (from February 1995 to January 2001, last vist to the high branches). The author observed frequently isolated specimens or little groups of these bats in caves of most of the Piemonte, sometimes, like in the Bear Cave of Ponte di Nava, together to the smaller Rhinolophus. (Size of the body in rest: until to 10 cm).

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