The Okinawan least horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus pumilus, is a cave-dwelling species endemic to the central and southern Ryukyus, Japan. We analyzed variation in the constant frequency (CF) of the echolocation call and in forearm length (FAL) of this species on Okinawa-jima Island on the basis of data for 479 individuals from 11 caves scattered over the island. CF values in samples from six caves, all located in the southwestern half of Okinawa-jima, were significantly higher than those in samples from five caves in the northeastern half of the island. Also, FAL was significantly greater in the latter group than in the former group, although the ranges of variation in this character substantially overlapped between the two groups. These results suggest substantial differentiation between R. pumilus populations on Okinawa-jima. The implications of our findings for the conservation of this endangered bat species are briefly discussed.
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