|Use of habitat and foraging time by females of Eptesicus nilssonii (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae)|
Smirnov D.G., Bezrukov V.A., Kurmaeva N.M.
Characteristic features of summer habitat and foraging time used by female E. nilssonii of differing reproductive status have been investigated. The research was carried out in the north of Samarskaya Luka in May and July 2012–2018. Sixteen bats were captured and tagged with transmitters. Research revealed that tree hollows serve as main roosts for bats. Regular roost switching is characteristic for pregnant and post-lactating female colonies, while lactating females utilize the same roost for nearly the entire lactation period. Evening emergence of bats is highly light dependent and occurs 40 minutes after sunset on average. Female home range size is similar in spring and summer, and averages 430.7 and 401.8 ha, respectively. Regardless of the season, their main foraging sites are forest edges, clearings, and spaces along the vertical tree and shrubbery vegetation structure of the riverbank area. Pregnant and post-lactating females not caring for offspring exhibit similar duration of nocturnal activity. Lactating females forage less and in phases. In late spring, females often hunt in places located over 3 km away from daytime roosts, while in summer they usually forage within 1 km of the roost. The revealed differences in behavior of pregnant, lactating, and post-lactating females are discussed in relation to insect resources and the energy costs of foraging and feeding non-flying offsprings.
|Reduced reproductive success in voles Microtus arvalis and Myodes glareolus: Male presence negatively affects offspring survival and their growth rates|
The effect of the presence or absence of the male on pup survival and pup growth was measured from birth through day 30 after birth in the common vole (Microtus arvalis) and the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). It was found that the presence of the male can result in some decrease in the offspring survival in both species under study. In the common vole, the growth rates of pups reared by single females were significantly higher than in the pups reared by both parents, and the presence of the sire negatively affected the growth rates of the young males. As for the bank vole, the presence of the male was found to have no effect on the growth rates of the young individuals. The results of the study indicate a decrease in reproductive success, and, accordingly, in fitness, of males of the species under study, especially in the common vole, if they choose a reproductive strategy based on pair bonding and biparental care. Possible factors favoring the formation of family groups and increasing individual indirect fitness in social (biparental) rodent species are discussed.
|First record of helminths of the European pine vole, Microtus subterraneus (Rodentia, Cricetidae) in Russia with overview on the rodent’s range|
Kirillova N.Yu., Kirillov A.A., Ruchin A.B.
The helminth’s fauna of small mammals of the Smolny National Park (Republic of Mordovia, Russia) was studied during 2018–2019. In total, 973 individuals of 14 species of small mammals were trapped, including 9 individuals of Microtus subterraneus (Rodentia, Cricetidae). Four European pine voles were found to be infected by helminths. The helminth fauna of pine voles was analyzed in Russia for the first time. Average abundance of helminths was found as 1.0. Three species of helminths were reported, namely: Anoplocephaloides dentata s. l., Hydatigera taeniaeformis s. l. (larva) and Heligmosomoides laevis. These are known as common parasites of the Microtus voles. The helminth fauna found in Microtus subterraneus is formed by the rodent’s lifestyle, it defined by herbivory of pine voles. The low species richness of helminths in the pine voles may also associated with a small number of animals studied and the low infection level of the rodents is defined by low abundance of this vole species in a wild. The review on the helminth’s fauna in Microtus subterraneus in the European range is presented. To date, 23 helminth species are recorded for the pine voles, namely: Trematoda — 1, Cestoda — 16 and Nematoda — 6.
|Rapidly increasing migratory activity of Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) and the sightings of Goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) in Transbaikalia as an alarm|
Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) has been recovering in the Zabaikalsky Krai of Russia since 1993–1994. The process, supported by successful conservation measures, was slow at first, but then accelerated rapidly. Establishment of sedentary groups and increase of their abundance on the Russian territory took place with a simultaneous increase of seasonal migrations of transboundary groups. They became annual since 2008. Russian part of the range expanded from 260 km2 in 1998 to 29 700 km2 in 2020. It covers about 90% of habitats suitable for gazelle in the region. In 2019–2020, both the number of antelopes entering Russia and an area they occupy increased the most: not only antelopes wintered in Russia but they also expanded their occurrence on Russian territory during summer time which was unusual previously and led to a rapid increase of resident local groups. Also, barbed wire fence along a state border near the junction of Mongolia and China contributed to increased accumulation of antelopes on the Russian territory. An unusual entry of Goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) from Mongolia to Zabaikaisky Krai was first recorded in January 2020. The adult male was photographed near Solovyevsk station more than 500 km from the nearest part of its current range. My findings show that Mongolian gazelles rapidly concentrate in a disproportionately small part (4%) of their current range i.e. the steppe part of Zabaikalsky krai of Russia. This concentration increases a probability of human-wildlife conflicts in Russia. Moreover, given the limited area of the suitable habitats and large number of natural and artificial barriers, chances of mass mortality among migrating cross-border groups increase dramatically. The observed processes evidence anthropogenic displacement of ungulates from the Mongolian territory due to a growing depletion of the forage supply and other negative drivers. In particular, climate change can increase the dangerous impact of humans. There is an urgent need to implement effective measures for conservation of Mongolian gazelle, based on regular monitoring of populations’ parameters that serve as indicators of their sustainability.
|Dietary overlap of wild ungulate Cuvier’s gazelle with livestock (sheep and goats) in Djebel Messaâd Forest, Algeria|
Benamor N., Bounaceur F., Aulagnier S.
Studying the dietary habits of wild animals is essential for the efficient wildlife management. This paper presents the results of dietary overlap of Cuvier's gazelle (Gazella cuvieri) and two species of livestock to evaluate whether or not they compete for forage. The study was conducted from September 2016 to August 2017 in the Djebel Messaâd Forest, Algeria, using microhistological analysis. The diet of Cuvier’s gazelle and livestock maintained a high proportion of grasses, shrubs and trees. At Djebel Messaâd Forest, of the total 48 food plant species identified in fecal samples, 39 of which were found in Cuvier’s gazelle, 29 and 36 from domestic sheep and goats respectively; 20 genera occurred in the annual diets of both Cuvier’s gazelle and livestock. The principal foods were browses (N% = 52.6) for Cuvier’s gazelle, while the dominant forage species included Stipa tenacissima, Artemisia herba alba, Pistacia terebinthus, Stipa parviflora, Helianthemum sp. The food diversity was invariably high for Cuvier’s gazelle in autumn and generally decreased from winter to summer, we conclude that this gazelle exhibited a higher dietary diversity than livestock. Shared species 21 represented a higher proportion of dietary items for Cuvier’s gazelle (N% = 76.9) than for sheep (N% = 54.0). While shared 28 species, a very higher proportion of those used by Cuvier’s gazelle (N% = 91.4) than by goats (N% = 61.2). Dietary overlap indices confirmed that, livestock had very similar diets. while, both of them had moderate diet overlap with Cuvier’s gazelle.
|Roaring dynamics in rutting male red deer Cervus elaphus from five Russian populations|
Rusin I.Yu., Volodin I.A., Sitnikova E.F., Litvinov M.N., Andronova R.S., Volodina E.V.
In Russia, current populations of Cervus elaphus sensu lato represent a mix of fragmented remnants of ancestral red deer naturally radiated from their center of origin in Middle Asia and populations, either re-stored by people at places where the native red deer are extinct or kept for agricultural production. Male rutting roaring activity represents an important part of red deer reproduction but there are no methods for unified evaluation of roaring dynamics. This study proposes the criteria for subdividing the entire rut period to phases (start, active, fading), applicable irrespectively to differences in population geographical area, animal density, subspecies or absolute values of call number per hour. With this approach, we estimate stag rutting roaring activity on hourly basis in five populations of red deer belonging to three subspecies by using two spaced automated recording devices per population, recording roars for 5 min/hour, 24 h/day, for 52–60 days of rutting period. Two spaced recorders per population provided similar data on rut dynamics, although absolute values of call number per hour were different. In four of the five study populations, rut period covered approximately the same calendar dates, from the last days of August until the last ten days of October. The mean roaring activity over a rut period differed strongly between populations (from 4–
15 calls/h to 319–377 calls/h). Effects of time of day on roaring activity differed between rut phases. The possible reasons of this variability are discussed.
|Human disturbances increase vigilance levels in sika deer (Cervus nippon): A preliminary observation by camera-trapping|
Many deer species exhibit typical vigilance behavior as an anti-predator response to human disturbances. However, vigilance behavior in sika deer (Cervus nippon) has not previously been assessed.
I explored whether human disturbances increase vigilance in sika deer by comparing their behaviors in two areas with different levels of human activity using camera-trapping techniques. The deer spent a significantly higher proportion of time exhibiting vigilance behavior in the site with higher levels of human activity, supporting my initial hypothesis. In addition, their vigilance increased in winter, possibly due to hunting by humans.
|Correlation structure of the cheek teeth enamel crown patterns in the genus Equus (Mammalia: Equidae): an analysis by geometric morphometrics with outline points|
Pavlinov I.Ya., Spasskaya N.N.
Correlation structure of the cheek teeth enamel crown patterns in the genus Equus was studied by means of geometric morphometrics using outline points as descriptors to reveal the levels of morphological integration of the toothrow elements. Crown patterns in 34 upper and 31 lower toothrows (260 teeth in total) from 30 horse species were analyzed, the respective sets of 70 to 150 outline points were processed using the elliptic Fourier, principal component, and cluster analyses. The most correlated were shown to be the serial homologous crown elements within premolar and molar toothrow portions and less across the total toothrow. Correlation between occluding upper and lower teeth was shown to be low. Such correlation structure allowed identifying several levels of integration of the cheek teeth crown patterns in the genus Equus. A possibility of considering the serial homologous crown elements as the modules of the evolutionary developmental structure of the equine toothrows was discussed. Certain perspectives of similar studies in the specialized artiodactyles were emphasized.
|Morphometric and genetic analyses of diversity of the Lena horse (Equus lenensis Russanov, 1968; Mammalia: Equidae)|
Spasskaya N.N., Pavlinov I.Ya., Sharko F.S., Boulygina E.S., Tsygankova S.V., Nedoluzhko A.V., Boeskorov G.G., Mashchenko E.N.
A pilot study of E. lenensis was carried out based on a small sample using a) standard morphometrics of the axial skull, mandible, the upper and lower cheek teeth; b) geometric morphometrics of the enamel crown patterns of the 1st upper and lower molars; c) molecular phylogenetic analysis with the complete mitochondrial genome sequencing. A certain morphological heterogeneity of E. lenensis by mostly dental and partly cranial characters was revealed. The study shows a necessity to reconsider species allocation of some records of Pleistocene horses in North East Siberia, and to carry out large-scale comprehensive revision of these materials using new approaches.
|Structure of the upper teeth of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and analysis of dental variability in insular forms|
Various polymorphic dental characters of Vulpes vulpes and Vulpes lagopus have been described on the basis of a detailed description of the occlusal surfaces of Р4, М1, and М2. The prevalence of these characters was found to be significantly different between samples of V. vulpes and mainland V. lagopus, which can be used to determine species in a fossil record. Notably, Commander Islands V. lagopus differ from mainland V. lagopus in most of the characters. However, some characters of Mednyi Island V. lagopus are unique to them and are not found in any other sample. Some samples from Bering Island do not display such specific features. Samples of ancient foxes, V. praeglacialis and V. praecorsac, have also been studied. Primitive features were observed in both V. praeglacialis and V. praecorsac, with the latter exhibiting also a number of advanced features. It has also been found that primitive features are prevalent in the maxillary dentition of V. vulpes. The insular groups of V. lagopus display numerous primitive features, whereas mainland V. lagopus demonstrate a substantial number of advanced characters. This combination of primitive and advanced features is typical of insular V. lagopus and indirectly suggests that these populations have spent a long time in isolation.