Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat (Coelops robinsoni)

Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat with wings stretched out
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Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat fact file

Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat description

GenusCoelops (1)

This extraordinary-looking bat is small and delicate, with relatively large, rounded and ridge-free ears and a complex noseleaf, which together nearly mask the rest of the head. The noseleaf is formed mainly from two lobes, which are surrounded by several other projections and notches (3). The Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat has short, broad wings with rounded tips and a large area of membrane above the forearm (known as the propatagium). This wing shape enables a large degree of manoeuvrability in flight, but limits the cruising speed of the bat. The long, soft fur ranges in colour from grey to dark brown, and is lightest on the underside (2) (4).

Head-and-body length: 35 - 36 mm (2)
Forearm length: 34 - 36 mm (2)
4 g (2)

Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat biology

Extremely little is known about this rarely-seen species. Pregnant females have been found in March and they are known to share their roosts with other species, including Ridley’s leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros ridleyi). Catching this species for scientific work is difficult, but it is not clear whether this is due to low numbers, or to the bat’s high level of agility in flight, making it possible to avoid traps at the last moment, where the momentum of other bats causes them to become entangled (2) (4).

The Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat gives birth to a single pup each year, which it feeds milk and carries on foraging flights until the pup is 1-2 months old, when it is weaned and starts to forage alone (4).


Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat range

Found in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and the Philippines (2), as well as on Tarutua Island (Thailand) (5), and possibly Laos (1).


Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat habitat

Occupying the lower levels of primary rainforest, the Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat is thought to roost in large, hollow trees (2).


Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat threats

The rapid increase in land devoted to growing oil palm has resulted in extensive loss of primary forest. Together, Malaysia and Indonesia export 88% of the world’s palm oil, for use in products such as margarine, lipstick and detergent. Deforestation continues at a steady rate for conversion to agricultural land and building communities, and despite the contribution of many bats in the control of insect crop pests, persecution of bats is also a threat (5).


Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat conservation

Deforestation of primary forest for oil palm plantations, including within protected areas, is an issue of major concern and one that relies on both governmental action and consumer concern. Some large retailers have agreed, in collaboration with the WWF, to source products containing palm oil from plantations that are not on deforested land (5). Many scientific and charitable groups contribute to bat monitoring and local education programmes that can help to reduce persecution and raise awareness of the natural assets of the land (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.


This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.


  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
  2. Kingston, T. (2005) Pers. comm.
  3. Yasuma, S., Andau, M., Apin, L., Yu, F. and Kimsu, L. (2003) Identification keys to the mammals of Borneo. Park Management Component, Sabah.
  4. Maltby, A. (2005) Pers. comm.
  5. Europa World (January, 2005)

Image credit

Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat with wings stretched out  
Malayan tailless leaf-nosed bat with wings stretched out

© Alanna Collen

Alanna Collen


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