Leonardo Ancillotto

Leonardo Ancillotto
University of Naples Federico II | UNINA · Wildlife Research Unit, Dipartimento di Agraria

PhD

About

120
Publications
74,164
Reads
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Introduction
I am interested in all aspects of wildlife biology, ecology, evolution, and conservation. My main research topics fall within the behavioral ecology of bats and small mammals and its application for conservation, with particular emphasis on habitat selection patterns, adaptation to urban environments, and responses to anthropogenic habitat alterations, such as climate and land-use changes. I am also involved in projects on ecosystem services provided by bats in natural and human-modified environments, as well as on ecology and management of introduced species.
Additional affiliations
January 2015 - present
University of Naples Federico II
Position
  • Researcher
November 2010 - November 2014
Sapienza University of Rome
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (120)
Article
Bats represent one of the most diverse mammalian orders, not only in terms of species numbers, but also in their ecology and life histories. Many species are known to use ephemeral and/or unpredictable resources that require substantial investment to find and defend, and also engage in social interactions, thus requiring significant levels of socia...
Article
Rivers host a wealth of biodiversity and play critical ecological functions, so monitoring their environmental status and tracking its changes has paramount importance for appropriate management. Although some biological groups, and especially benthic macroinvertebrates, are employed routinely to achieve this goal, the quest for bioindicators of ri...
Article
Ponds have an important role in the ecology of urban areas, as they provide essential habitats to aquatic species, as well as fundamental resources to terrestrial wildlife. Artificial water sites such as urban ponds provide foraging and drinking resources to synurbic wildlife, among which bats stand out as an important group. Availability of water...
Article
Full-text available
Islands host high numbers of endemic species, and the latter are especially exposed to human-driven habitat alteration because their population size is constrained by the limited space and resources found in insular systems. Extreme events linked with climate change and direct anthropogenic stressors may synergistically affect endemic species, and...
Article
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Traditional farming, where livestock is seasonally managed as free ranging and the use of drugs is reduced or absent, may prove beneficial to biodiversity by fostering the occurrence of spatial heterogeneity, and increasing the availability of trophic resources to wildlife. Previous work indicates that the presence of cattle in lowlands leads to an...
Article
Mimicry is one of the most fascinating phenomena in nature¹. Mimicry traits often reflect complex, finely tuned, and sometimes extravagant relationships among species and have evolved to deceive predators or prey. Indeed, mimicry has most often evolved to discourage predation: the ‘mimic’ exhibits phenotypic convergence towards a non-related ‘model...
Article
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Monitoring population trends of alien species is pivotal to design effective management plans to preserve native biodiversity, particularly urban areas, where most populations of alien birds are established. Urban wildlife rescue centers, with personnel trained to record species, age and sex of each individual brought by the public, may represent a...
Article
Landscape management is a key tool for wildlife conservation. This is especially important in protected areas, where conservation, local resource harvesting such as timber harvesting, and public accessibility are potentially conflicting needs that eventually influence wildlife ecology and behaviour. We studied the spatial behaviour of a forest spec...
Article
Full-text available
Bats show responses to anthropogenic stressors linked to changes in other ecosystem components such as insects, and as K-selected mammals, exhibit fast population declines. This speciose, widespread mammal group shows an impressive trophic diversity and provides key ecosystem services. For these and other reasons, bats might act as suitable bioindi...
Article
SARS-­CoV-­2, the virus that caused the COVID-­19 pandemic, is genomically similar to a SARS-­like beta-­ coronavirus found in Asian rhinolophid bats. This evolutionary relationship impressed the global media, which then em phasised bats as key actors in the spillover that resulted in the pandemic. In this study, we highlight changes in the traditi...
Article
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is a pervasive form of pollution largely affecting wildlife, from individual behaviour to community structure and dynamics. As nocturnal mammals, bats are often adversely affected by ALAN, yet some “light-opportunistic” species exploit it by hunting insects swarming near lights. Here we used two potentially competin...
Preprint
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is a pervasive form of pollution largely affecting wildlife, from individual behaviour to community structure and dynamics. As nocturnal mammals, bats are often adversely affected by ALAN, yet some “light-tolerant” species exploit it by hunting insects swarming near lights. Here we used two potentially competing pip...
Article
1. Climate change is among the key anthropogenic factors affecting species' distribution, with important consequences for conservation. However, little is known concerning the consequences of distributional changes on community-level interactions, and responses by generalist species might have many ecological implications in terms of novel interact...
Article
Full-text available
Bats are often unfairly depicted as the direct culprit in the current COVID-19 pandemic, yet the real causes of this and other zoonotic spillover events should be sought in the human impact on the environment, including the spread of domestic animals. Here, we discuss bat predation by cats as a phenomenon bringing about zoonotic risks and illustrat...
Article
Variation in body size is thought as one of the main responses to climate change, yet studies exploring the existence of this pattern are limited by the scarcity of long temporal datasets. Bats are promising candidates for the occurrence of climate-driven changes in body size because their life cycle is highly sensitive to ambient temperature. Alth...
Preprint
Full-text available
Human settlements, including cities, may provide wildlife with new ecological niches , in terms of habitat types and food availability, thus requiring plasticity for adaptation. The crested porcupine Hystrix cristata is a habitat-generalist, large-sized rodent, also recorded in some suburban areas, but no information is available on its habitat use...
Presentation
Full-text available
We are currently guest-editing a Special Issue of the Journal for Nature Conservation (ISSN 1617-1381, IF 2.482) on the topic: "Biological uniqueness: tools and advances to protect endemism", which seeks to shed light on the particularities of endemism conservation in any terrestrial or aquatic ecosystem. We call for original research papers with...
Article
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Body size in animals commonly shows geographic and temporal variations that may depend upon several environmental drivers, including climatic conditions, productivity, geography and species interactions. The topic of body size trends across time has gained momentum in recent years since this has been proposed as a third universal response to climat...
Article
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The Barn Owl Tyto alba is commonly reported as a non-selective predator of small mammals, and its diet has been thoroughly analyzed also to assess the small mammal assembly composition in many study areas. The aim of this work was to analyze the diet of the Barn Owl in the Elba island through the analysis of 161 pellets collected in September 2020....
Article
Wildfires shape ecosystems globally, yet little is known on their effects on wildlife distribution and spatial behaviour. We used bats as models to test the effects of fire on ecosystems because they are multi-habitat specialists and feature ecological and life traits such as behavioural plasticity and longevity that make them able to respond to bo...
Article
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The genus Crocidura (Eulipotyphla, Soricidae) is the most speciose genus amongst mammals, i.e., it includes the highest number of species. Different species are distinguished by skull morphology, which often prevents the identification of individuals in the field and limits research on these species' ecology and biology. We combined species distrib...
Article
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Recent growth of investments in wind energy and power industries has increased concerns about the associated adverse impacts on wildlife. In particular, flying vertebrates are especially at risk, both directly, through an extra mortality rate due to collision with turbines and electrocution, and indirectly through habitat loss or fragmentation. In...
Preprint
Full-text available
Following coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic, global media and the Internet started mentioning bats as key actors in the spillover. This depiction often misinterprets scientific evidence about the relationship between bats and SARS-CoV-2, and may contribute to increase bat persecution worldwide if not accompanied by sufficiently clear explanations. More...
Preprint
Full-text available
Following coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic, global media and the Internet started mentioning bats as key actors in the spillover. This depiction often misinterprets scientific evidence about the relationship between bats and SARS-CoV-2, and may contribute to increase bat persecution worldwide if not accompanied by sufficiently clear explanations. More...
Article
Full-text available
Because of the high risk of going unnoticed, cryptic species represent a major challenge to biodiversity assessments, and this is particularly true for taxa that include many such species, e.g. bats. Long-eared bats from the genus Plecotus comprise numerous cryptic species occurring in the Mediterranean Region, and present complex phylogenetic rela...
Article
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The European Union (EU) has recently adopted a regulation on invasive alien species that foresees the possibility of developing lists of species of National Concern. We developed a prioritisation process for alien mammals already established in Italy, but not yet included in the EU list (n = 6 species) and a systematic horizon-scanning procedure to...
Article
1. Interspecific competition (IC) is often seen as a main driver of evolutionary patterns and community structure. Bats might compete for key resources, and cases of exaggerated divergence of resource-related characters or trait overdispersion in bat assemblages are often explained in terms of current or past interspecific competition. However, oth...
Article
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Checklists represent a basic tool for conservation and management of regional faunas. However, our knowledge on species composition in a territory changes over time due to species movements across borders, extinctions, introductions, as well as to new taxonomic evidence. We aimed to provide the most updated data on native and non-native species of...
Article
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The identification of research questions with high relevance for biodiversity conservation is an important step towards designing more effective policies and management actions, and to better allocate funding among alternative conservation options. However, the identification of priority questions may be influenced by regional differences in biodiv...
Conference Paper
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Intensive agricultural systems and livestock farms have replaced primary forest, which implies an impoverishment of biological communities. Where livestock is managed as free-ranging at low or medium grazing intensities, however, this may prove beneficial to biodiversity because it favors the occurrence of spatial and trophic resources for wildlife...
Article
Artificial illumination at night represents an increasingly concerning threat to ecosystems worldwide, altering persistence, behaviour, physiology and fitness of many organisms and their mutual interactions, in the long-term affecting ecosystem functioning. Bats are very sensitive to artificial light at night because they are obligate nocturnal and...
Article
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Aim The establishment and spread of invasive alien species may be influenced by several mutually interacting factors, whose understanding is paramount to develop effective biosecurity policies. However, studies focused on modelling spatially explicit patterns of future invasion risk have so far focused on species response to climate change impacts,...
Article
Proximity to humans is a primary stressor for wildlife, especially in urban habitats where frequent disturbance may occur. Several bat species often roost in buildings but while the effects of disturbance inside the roost are well documented, little is known about those occurring in the proximity of roosts. We tested the effects of anthropogenic st...
Article
In recent years, many cryptic species of bats have been discovered thanks to the application of molecular techniques. The several long-eared bat species (genus Plecotus) occurring in Europe show a marked morphological similarity and occur in sympatry, so that when confusion may arise, molecular approaches have prime importance to establish the actu...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanisation exposes wildlife to new challenging conditions and environmental pressures. Some mammalian species have adapted to these novel environments, but it remains unclear which characteristics allow them to persist. To address this question, we identified 190 mammals regularly recorded in urban settlements worldwide, and used phylogenetic pat...
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND The monk parakeet Myiopsitta monachus (Boddaert), native to South America is an invasive species in several European countries, causing crop damage and potential negative impacts on wildlife. Only Spain and Great Britain have regulations to control monk parakeets, thus fast growth and spread of populations are likely to occur on a wide s...
Cover Page
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The catastrophic wildfire that hit Mount Vesuvius (southern Italy) in Summer 2017 (see L. Bosso et al. pp. 756-769). Photo by Luciano Bosso.
Article
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Introduced species represent a threat to native wildlife worldwide, due to predation, competition, and disease transmission. Concurrent introduction of parasites may also add a new dimension of competition, i.e. parasite-mediated competition, through spillover and spillback dynamics. Urban areas are major hotspots of introduced species, but little...
Article
Full-text available
Fire is a major disturbance that affects ecological communities, and when fire events increase in frequency or extent, they may jeopardise biodiversity. Although long-term studies are irreplaceable to understand how biological communities respond to wildfires, a rapid, efficient assessment of the consequences of wildfire is paramount to inform habi...
Article
Bats show pronounced and often-adverse reactions to artificial illumination at night (ALAN) when commuting, roosting or foraging. ALAN also affects bat drinking activity, at least when lighting occurs over short intervals. We tested whether continuous illumination of drinking sites over 4-h periods would lead bats to tolerate ALAN and resume drinki...
Article
Download the paper here : https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1XUewcA-IW04b Bats are major consumers of arthropods, and there is ever growing evidence that they play a pivotal role in the fight against agricultural pests. However, relatively little research has addressed explicitly this important topic, and studies in temperate regions (especially Euro...
Poster
Full-text available
Urbanization exposes wildlife to new challenging conditions and environmental pressures. Some mammalian species have adapted to these novel environments, but it remains unclear which characteristics allow them to persist. To address this question we identified 190 mammals regularly recorded in urban settlements worldwide, and used phylogenetic path...
Article
Human-induced alterations often lead to changes in the geographical range of plants and animals. While modelling exercises may contribute to understanding such dynamics at large spatial scales, they rarely offer insights into the mechanisms that prompt the process at a local scale. Savi's pipistrelle (Hypsugo savii) is a vespertilionid bat widespre...
Article
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Managing biological invasions requires rapid, cost-effective assessments of introduced species’ occurrence, and a good understanding of the species’ vegetation associations. This is particularly true for species that are elusive or may spread rapidly. Finlayson’s squirrel (Callosciurus finlaysonii) is native to Thailand and southeastern Asia, and t...
Article
Managing biological invasions requires rapid, cost-effective assessments of introduced species' occurrence, and a good understanding of the species' vegetation associations. This is particularly true for species that are elusive or may spread rapidly. Finlayson's squirrel (Callosciurus finlaysonii) is native to Thailand and southeastern Asia, and t...
Chapter
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This book, which consists of 11 chapters, highlights the major impact of invasive alien plants and animals on human health. This includes not only direct effects through contact with the species via bites, wounds and disease, but also indirect effects caused by changes induced in ecosystems by invasive species, such as more water hyacinth increasin...
Article
Competition for critical resources is one of the key mechanisms through which invasive species impact on native communities. Among birds, the widely introduced ring-necked parakeet Psittacula krameri locally affects cavity-nesting communities through competition for suitable tree cavities, although it remains unclear to what extent such competition...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The monk parakeet Myiopsitta monachus is an invasive species widely distributed across the world. Invasive populations have been reported from several European countries, but data on population sizes and trends are scarce and often outdated. From 2015 to 2017, we have conducted a census across Europe to update monk parakeet population sizes and ana...
Article
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The recording and analysis of echolocation calls are fundamental methods used to study bat distribution, ecology and behavior. However, the goal of identifying bats in flight from their echolocation calls is not always possible. Unlike bird songs, bat calls show large variation which often makes identification challenging. The problem has not been...
Article
Voucher specimens have played a fundamental role in biology, but ethical and conservation concerns have been raised over unnecessary collection of organisms. From 1996 to 2017, 222 studies mentioned the collection of 7482 bats of 376 species, mostly from South America and Asia (India, China, and South-East Asia). Researchers mostly aimed to compile...
Article
Full-text available
In summer, many temperate bat species use daytime torpor, but breeding females do so less to avoid interferences with reproduction. In forest-roosting bats, deep tree cavities buffer roost microclimate from abrupt temperature oscillations and facilitate thermoregulation. Forest bats also switch roosts frequently, so thermally suitable cavities may...