Article 4418

Title of the article



Smirnov Dmitriy Grigor'evich, Doctor of biological sciences, professor, sub-department of zoology and ecology, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia), E-mail: 

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Background. In the conditions of Samarskaya Luka two species – P. nathusii and E. nilssonii – live together and demonstrate similar environmental needs, which should specify a certain level of their competitive relationships. The aim of the research is to study the trophic ecology of these species and to identify the degree of overlap between their ecological niches in Samarskaya Luka.
Materials and methods. Field works were in July since 2010 till 2018 on the right bank of the Volga within the northern part of Samarskaya Luka. Bats were caught and registered with the ultrasonic detectors at nights. The diet was identified by analysis of the insects fragments in excrement.
Results and conclusions. The highest occurrence of P. nathusii in macrohabitats is identified in the island floodplain and coastal zone, E. nilssonii, in the deciduous forests growing in the ravines on the northern slopes of the Zhiguli Mountains. Species demonstrate similarities in microhabitats associated with the use of certain types of hunting areas and hunting behaviors. The principal differences are in the use of extended hunting areas and food composition. There are 8 categories of feeding were identified in the diet of P. nathusii belonging to 7 orders of insects, E. nilssonii had 9 categories belonging to 8 orders. The representatives of Chironomidae are predominant in the diet of P. nathusii, and Lepidoptera is in the diet of E. nilssonii. In general, P. nathusii is characterized by narrower trophic niche and more pronounced food specialization compared to the strategy of E. nilssonii. A wider niche probably gives an advantage for the latter species in the competition for resources; with the numerical dominance of the first one. The degree of overlap of trophic niche between the species is low. 

Key words

bats, Chiroptera, Pipistrellus nathusii, Eptesicus nilssonii, diet, hunting areas, trophic niches 


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