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Sexual segregation occurs in bats within fragmented remnant woodlands in an agricultural landscape

Fialas, Penelope C.; Gilmour, Lia R. V.; Vickress, Sophie; Underwood, Emma; Williams, Carol A.; Miller, Helen; Lintott, Paul R.


Penelope C. Fialas

Lia R. V. Gilmour

Sophie Vickress

Emma Underwood

Carol A. Williams

Helen Miller

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Paul Lintott
Senior Lecturer in Conservation Science


Species-specific responses to landscape configuration and landscape composition have been studied extensively. However, little work has been done to compare intraspecific differences in habitat preferences. Bats have potential as good bioindicator taxa in woodland habitats. Therefore, studying sex differences in responses to woodland and the wider landscape can allow us to gain insight into the relative importance of these habitats for both bats and other taxa. In this study, we aimed to test the predictions that (i) habitat type and connectivity will influence the probability of recording female bats in woodlands and (ii) sex differences in response to habitat type and connectivity will be species-specific. Bat capture data was collected in 206 woodlands over 3 years in England. The probability of detecting females relative to males was modeled in response to a range of woodland characteristics and landscape metrics for six bat species. We recorded sex differences in responses to landscape features in three species. We found a higher probability of capturing female Myotis nattereri in woodlands that were surrounded by a higher proportion of improved grasslands, whereas female Myotis mystacinus were less likely to be recorded in woodlands surrounded by semi-natural vegetation. Female Plecotus auritus were more likely to be recorded in isolated woodlands with less connectivity to other woodlands and where agriculture dominated the surrounding landscape. Our findings indicate that sexual segregation occurs across several UK bat species in response to landscape connectivity and composition. Sexual segregation in response to landscape characteristics in bats should therefore be an important consideration in the management of fragmented agricultural landscapes.


Fialas, P. C., Gilmour, L. R. V., Vickress, S., Underwood, E., Williams, C. A., Miller, H., & Lintott, P. R. (2022). Sexual segregation occurs in bats within fragmented remnant woodlands in an agricultural landscape. Ecology and Evolution, 12(10), e9350.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 5, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 1, 2022
Publication Date Oct 1, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 6, 2022
Journal Ecology and Evolution
Electronic ISSN 2045-7758
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 10
Pages e9350
Keywords Nature and Landscape Conservation; Ecology; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, chiroptera, citizen science, landscape connectivity, sexual segregation
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Additional Information Received: 2022-06-13; Accepted: 2022-09-05; Published: 2022-10-01


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