Kurmaeva Nailya Mukhammetshanovna, Candidate of biological sciences, associate professor, sub-department of zoology and ecology, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia), firstname.lastname@example.org
Smirnov Dmitriy Grigorievich, Doctor of biological sciences, professor, sub-department of zoology and ecology, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia), email@example.com
Il’in Vladimir Yurievich, 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 “small brown bat” group has always aroused an interest of professionals, both in matters of taxonomy and geographic distribution. The territory of European Russia and the Urals are inhabited by three morphologically similar representative of the said group: Myotis mystacinus, M. davidii and M. brandtii. All three species are found in the Southern Urals. Over the past two decades, there has accumulated enough information about these types of findings that require generalization and systematization. In this regard, the aim of the work is to describe all currently known discovery sites of small brown bat species in the southern areas of the Southern Urals and to reveal their distribution regularities.
Materials and methods. The research materials consisted of the information obtained over the period of 1991–2003 in the course of the authors’ own long-term field studies, literature, as well as data from the funds of the Zoological Institute (St. Petersburg). The study area covered the territory of Orenburg region and southern regions of the republic of Bashkortostan, as well as the eastern regions of the West Kazakhstan region, north-eastern regions of Atyrau region and the north-west of Aktobe region of Kazakhstan.
Results. The article shows all known to date discoveries of representatives of the “small brown bat” group in the studied region. The habitat of M. mystacinus and M. brandtii covers mostly all mountain-forests of the Southern Urals, from the north to the south down to the river Sakmara. It was there that the researchers met them most often and recorded the maximum number of individuals. Everywhere, both species were found in almost the same habitats. However, despite the general nature of the spread, in terms of occurrence M. mystacinus (n = 16) was still twice inferior to M. brandtii (n = 31). To the south of the Orenburg region due to a rather strong arid climate and a lack of suitable habitat, these species do not occur. The distribution of M. davidii is linked to arid landscapes. All known findings (n = 10) were made in the areas of Orenburg and Kazakh steppes and semi-deserts. This species is not bound to woody vegetation, the places of its discovery were dominated by open steppes or floodplains. However, they are not afraid of forests. In addition, all M. davidii occurence places were located in areas of bedrock outcrops with many expressed erosion and karst manifestations. It is assumed that the middle reaches of the Sakmara area can be a co-habitation of all three species, but this requires furtherinvestigation.
Conclusions. In the southern part of the Southern Urals and adjacent territories the authors have established 57 places of occurrence of M. mystacinus, M. davidii and M. brandtii. The greatest number of occurences was reported by M. mystacinus and M. brandtii, which were mainly distributed in the mountain forest part. To the south of Orenburg region due to the arid climate these species do not occur. The distribution of M. davidii is linked to the arid landscapes. All known findings were made in the areas of Orenburg and Kazakh steppes and semi-deserts.
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