Ivanitsky Aleksandr Nikolaevich, Researcher, the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia (67 Krasnomayatskaya street, Sukhum, the Republic of Abkhazia), email@example.com
Smirnov Dmitriy Grigorievich, Doctor of biological sciences, professor, sub-department of zoology and ecology, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia), firstname.lastname@example.org
Background. The knowledge about the peculiarities of distribution, wintering and breeding of horseshoe bats in Abkhazia has been rather poor or, in most cases, is absent. The aim of this work is to summarize information on distribution of horseshoe bats in Abkhazia and adjacent territories, and to present the available data on hibernation and breeding.
Materials and methods. Materials for the work include the data obtained during authors’ own long-term field studies, literary sources and data from collections of the most important museums of Abkhazia, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
Results. All of three species of horseshoe bats in Abkhazia are widespread. The main findings were made on the coastal lowlands and foothills. Hibernation places for Rh. ferrumequinum and Rh. euryale were registered only in caverns, whereas for Rh. hipposideros – in caverns, adits, grottos and buildings. Rh. hipposideros and Rh. euryale do not form large wintering colonies, while the Rh. ferrumequinum gather up to several hundred individuals. The most resistant to temperature changes is Rh. hipposideros, and the most thermophilic – Rh. euryale. All of horseshoe bats in Abkhazia produce offsprings. Mating usually occurs in the hibernation places. Shelters for maternal colonies of horseshoe bats are caves and buildings. The number of animals in nursery colonies of Rh. hipposideros usually not exceed a few tens of individuals, while the other two species – from several tens to several hundreds.
Conclusions. In the territory of Abkhazia there have been found 3 species of horseshoe bats, which can be considered as widespread in this habitat. The main findings were made in coastal lowlands and foothills. Different types of underground sites and buildings are used by horseshoe bats for hibernation and breeding. Mating usually occurs in the wintering places. Births take place in late June – July.
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