Pattern of geographic distribution of Nyctalus noctula (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in eastern Ukraine and the formation of new hibernating groups in urban landscapes

I. Zagorodniuk, S. Rebrov

National Museum of Natural History, NAS of Ukraine
15, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi St., Kyiv 01601, Ukraine
Ivan Shmalhausen Institute of Zoology, NAS of Ukraine
15/2, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi St., Kyiv 01601, Ukraine

The distribution of a dendrophilous migrant bat species, the common noctule (Nyctalus noctula), was studied in Luhansk Region, Ukraine, in the area transitional between the forest-steppe and steppe zones. It is shown that the species distribution is confined to riverine forests of river network of Siversky Donets basin. The regular observations during 2000–2014 provided the first record of wintering bats in 2007 and subsequently revealed an increasing number of hibernating groups in the study area. All of them were associated with city districts of high-rise buildings, indicating to a seasonal synurbization of N. noctula in the region. These Eastern Ukrainian records are the easternmost for the species wintering and support the further north-eastern expansion of its winter range. In the region, N. noctula is the fourth to fifth most abundant species following Eptesicus serotinus, Pipistrellus kuhlii, Pipistrellus pygmaeus, and possibly, Vespertilio murinus and Plecotus auritus.

Keywords: Nyctalus noctula, geographic distribution, migration, synurbization, hibernation, steppe zone, Eastern Ukraine

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