Vladimir V. Belkin, PhD, Leading Research Associate of the Institute of Biology of Karelian Research Centre of RAS (185910, Russia, Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Pushkinskaya Street, 11); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Fyodor V. Fyodorov, PhD, Senior Researcher of the Institute of Biology of Karelian Research Centre of RAS (185910, Russia, Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Pushkinskaya Street, 11); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Viktor A. Ilyukha, doctor of science, Chief Research Associate of the Institute of Biology of Karelian Research Centre of RAS (185910, Russia, Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Pushkinskaya Street, 11); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Alina E. Yakimova, PhD, Senior Researcher of the Institute of Biology of Karelian Research Centre of RAS (185910, Russia, Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Pushkinskaya Street, 11); iD ORCID:; e-mail:

Reference to article

Belkin V.V., Fyodorov F.V., Ilyukha V.A., Yakimova A.E. 2021. Characteristics of the bat (Chiroptera) population in Protected Areas in the northern and middle taiga subzones of European Russia. Nature Conservation Research 6(Suppl.1): 17–31.

Section Research articles

The overall bat (Chiroptera) fauna of Protected Areas in the forest zone of European Russia has not yet been assessed, although papers on some Protected Areas are being published quite regularly. Along its north-to-south gradient, this extensive area spans a great variety of habitats suitable for bat populations with vastly diverse compositions. In our review of bat species, we focused on eight Protected Areas in the northern and middle taiga, as well as on a comparative summary of the faunal data for the forest zone of European Russia in general. Surveys using a bat detector and by mist-netting resulted in identification of the species composition, relative abundance, relative density and spatial distribution of bats in Protected Areas. The following nine bat species were recorded: Myotis nattereri, M. mystacinus, M. brandtii, M. daubentonii, M. dasycneme, Plecotus auritus, Nyctalus noctula, Eptesicus nilssonii, Vespertilio murinus. We regularly recorded ultrasonic signals from Plecotus auritus, Nyctalus noctula and Vespertilio murinus up to 66° N, which is much farther north that the species ranges indicated on IUCN maps. This result came as a surprise, considering there had been no specialised censuses in the Republic of Karelia or the Arkhangelsk region for decades. In Protected Areas, bat communities were dominated by Eptesicus nilssonii, which is specific to the northern taiga and middle taiga subzones. We discuss some ecological preferences of this species, such as a relatively higher tolerance of E. nilssonii towards temperature, but not towards air humidity in winter roosts, which may help it to thrive at high latitudes. At the same time, E. nilssonii is either missing from more southern parts of the forest zone or its relative abundance there is lower, while the dominant faunal elements are Myotis daubentonii (Darwin State Nature Reserve), Nyctalus noctula (Smolenskoye Poozerye National Park, Oksky State Nature Reserve, Bryansky Les State Nature Reserve) and Pipistrellus nathusii (Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve). Additionally, bat captures by using mist nets in the Vodlozersky National Park revealed the northernmost records of Myotis mystacinus in European Russia (62.224867° N, 37.081629° E and 62.466342° N, 36.673240° E). Finally, we argue that recent bat records demand a revision of the status of bats in regional Red Data Books.


distribution, Red Data Book, relative abundance, relative density, species composition

Artice information

Received: 16.04.2020. Revised: 12.10.2020. Accepted: 22.10.2020.

The full text of the article

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