Staff Research
Projects Publications Collaborations
Danilo Russo

Assistant Professor of Ecology

PhD University of Bristol, 7 March 2002
Graduation degree (laurea cum laude) in Nature Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, 22 March 1993

Research domain
Acoustic communication in island bats, Acoustic identification of bats, Animal conservation in forest ecosystems, Foraging habitat selection, Responses to land abandonment, The fate of rehabilitated bats

Research interests
Bats, Cerambycids, Conservation biology, Echolocation, Foraging, Forest biodiversity, Habitat selection, Island biogeography, Land use change, Resource partitioning

2012: Assistant professor of Ecology
2011-present: Subject Editor, Mammalian Biology
2011-present: Associate Editor, Acta Chiropterologica
2008-present: Member of Bat Specialist Group, IUCN
2008-2011: Post-doc scientist, grants on survival and use of space in rehabilitated bats and conservation of bats in buildings. Faculty of Agriculture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
2008-present: Member of Steering Committee, Italian Mammal Society (ATIt)
2008-present: Professor of Zoology, degree in Life Sciences, University of Salerno
2007-present: Associate Editor, Hystrix – Italian Journal of Mammalogy
2007-present: Scientific focal point for the Ministry of Environment, EUROBATS agreement
2007-present: Member of Scientific Advisory Board, Austrian Coordination Centre for Bat Conservation and Research (KFFOE)
2007-2010: National coordinator of Italian Chiroptera Research Group
2007: Post-doc research position on “Assessment of fire risk in different land use types: relationships to vegetation and fauna”, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
2006-present: Professor of Conservation Biology, degree in Forestry Sciences, University of Naples Federico II
2003-2006: Post-doc research position on "Interaction between wildlife and vegetation", Faculty of Agriculture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
2002-present: Honorary fellow (visiting scientist) at School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol
1998-2007: National vice-coordinator of Italian Chiroptera Research Group
1998-2001: Marie Curie EC fellowship (TMR programme cat 20 under FP4, contract ERBFMBICT972413), School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol

Selected scientific articles and monographies

Aronne G. & Russo D. (1997). Carnivorous mammals as seed dispersers of the Mediterranean shrub Myrtus communis (Myrtaceae). Plant Biosystems 131: 189-195.
Russo D. & Jones G. (1999). The social calls of Kuhl’s pipistrelles Pipistrellus kuhlii (Kuhl, 1819): structure and variation (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae). Journal of Zoology, London 249: 476-481.
Russo D. & Jones G. (2000). The two cryptic species of Pipistrellus pipistrellus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) occur in Italy: evidence from echolocation and social calls. Mammalia, 64: 187-197.
Russo D., Jones G. & Mucedda, M. (2001). Influence of age, sex and body size on echolocation calls of Mediterranean (Rhinolophus euryale) and Mehely’s (Rhinolophus mehelyi) horseshoe bats (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) Mammalia 65: 429-436.
Russo D. & Jones G. (2002). Identification of twenty–two bat species (Mammalia: Chiroptera) from Italy by analysis of time-expanded recordings of echolocation calls. Journal of Zoology, London 258: 91-103.
Russo D., Jones G. & Migliozzi A. (2002). Habitat selection by the Mediterranean horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus euryale (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) in a rural area of southern Italy and implications for conservation. Biological Conservation 107: 71-81.
Russo D. (2002). Elevation affects the distribution of the two sexes in Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Italy. Mammalia 66: 543-551.
Russo D. & Jones G. (2003). Use of foraging habitats by bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in a Mediterranean area determined by acoustic surveys: conservation implications. Ecography 26: 197-209.
Russo D. (2003). Dead trees mean life to Italian barbastelle bats. Ecologia Mediterranea 29: 258-260.
Russo D., Cistrone L., Jones G. & Mazzoleni S. (2004). Roost selection by barbastelle bats (Barbastella barbastellus, Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in beech woodlands of central Italy: consequences for conservation. Biological Conservation 117: 73-81.
Russo D., Almenar D., Aihartza J., Goiti U.,Salsamendi E & Garin I. (2005). Habitat selection in sympatric Rhinolophus mehelyi and R. euryale (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae). Journal of Zoology, London 266: 327-332.
Russo D., Cistrone L. & Jones, G (2005). Spatial and temporal patterns of roost use by tree-dwelling barbastelle bats, Barbastella barbastellus. Ecography 28: 769-776.
Russo D., Jones G. & Arlettaz R. (2007). Echolocation and passive listening by foraging mouse-eared bats Myotis myotis and M. blythii. Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 166-176.
Russo D., Cistrone L. & Jones, G (2007). Emergence time in forest bats: the influence of canopy closure. Acta Oecologica 31: 119-126.
Biscardi S., Russo D., Casciani V., Cesarini D., Mei M. & Boitani L. (2007). Foraging requirements of the endangered long-fingered bat (Myotis capaccinii): the influence of micro-habitat structure, water quality and prey type. Journal of Zoology, London 273: 372-381.
Davy, C.M., Russo D. & Fenton M.B. (2007). Use of native woodlands and traditional olive groves by foraging bats on a Mediterranean island: consequences for conservation. Journal of Zoology, London 273: 397-405.
Russo D (2007). Effects of land abandonment on animal species in Europe: conservation and management implications. Integrated Assessment of vulnerable ecosystems under global change in the European Union. European Commission, Directorate – General for Research Environment, pp. 53, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

Moreira F. & Russo D. (2007). Modelling the impact of agricultural abandonment and wildfires on vertebrate diversity in Mediterranean Europe. Landscape Ecology 22: 1461-1476.
Russo D., Mucedda M., Bello M., Biscardi S., Pidinchedda E. & Jones G. (2007). Divergent echolocation call frequencies in insular rhinolophids (Chiroptera): a case of character displacement? Journal of Biogeography 34: 2129-2138.
Flaquer C., Montserrat X.P., Burgas A. & Russo D. (2008). Habitat selection by Geoffroy’s bats (Myotis emarginatus) in a rural Mediterranean landscape: implications for conservation. Acta Chiropterologica 10: 61-67.
Flaquer C., Puig-Montserrat X., Goiti U., Vidal F., Curcó A. & Russo D. (2009). Habitat selection in Nathusius’ pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii): the importance of wetland. Acta Chiropterologica 11: 149-155.
Russo D., Teixeira S., Cistrone L., Jesus J., Teixeira D., Freitas T., & Jones G. (2009). Social calls are subject to stabilizing selection in insular bats. Journal of Biogeography. 36: 2212–2221.
Di Salvo I., Russo D., Sarà M. (2009). Habitat preferences of bats in a rural area of Sicily determined by acoustic surveys. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy 20: 137-146.
Georgiakakis, P., Vasilakopoulos, P., Mylonas, M. & Russo, D. (2010). Bat species richness and activity over an elevation gradient in Mediterranean shrublands of Crete. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy 21: 43-56.
Esposito S., Incerti G., Giannino, F., Russo, D. & Mazzoleni S. (2010). Integrated modelling of foraging behaviour, energy budget and memory properties. Ecological Modelling 221: 1283-1291.
Russo D., Cistrone L., Garonna, A.P. & Jones, G (2010). Reconsidering the importance of harvested forests for the conservation of tree-dwelling bats. Biodiversity and Conservation 9: 2501-2515.
Russo D., Cistrone L., Garonna A.P. & Jones G. (2011). The early bat catches the fly: daylight foraging in soprano pipistrelles. Mammalian Biology 76: 87-89. BBC coverage:
Russo D., Cistrone L., Garonna A.P. (2011). Habitat selection in the highly endangered beetle Rosalia alpina: a multiple spatial scale assessment. Journal of Insect Conservation 15: 685-693.
Russo D., Maglio G., Rainho A., Meyer C.F. & Palmeirim J. (2011). Out of the dark: diurnal activity in the bat Hipposideros ruber on São Tomé island (West Africa).  Mammalian Biology 76: 701-708.
Russo, D. (2011). Zoogeography: an ecological perspective. Chapter of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (commissioned paper), EOLSS Ė Unesco. 
Del Vaglio M.A., Nicolau H., Bosso L. & Russo D. (2011). Feeding habits of the Egyptian fruit bat Rousettus aegyptiacus on Cyprus island: a first assessment. Hystrix 22: 281-289.
Serangeli M.T., Cistrone L., Ancillotto L., Tomassini A. & Russo D. (2012). The post-release fate of hand-reared orphaned bats: survival and habitat selection. Animal Welfare 21: 9-18.
Ancillotto L., Serangeli M.T. & Russo D. (2012). Spatial proximity between newborns influences the development of social relationships in bats. Ethology 118: 1-10.
Rebelo H., Froufe E., Brito J.C., Russo D., Cistrone L., Ferrand N, Jones G. (2012). Postglacial colonization of Europe by the barbastelle bat: agreement between molecular data and past predictive modelling. Molecular Ecology 21: 2761-2774.
Galimberti A., Spada M., Russo D., Mucedda M., Agnelli P., et al. (2012) Integrated Operational Taxonomic Units (IOTUs) in Echolocating Bats: A Bridge between Molecular and Traditional Taxonomy. PLoS ONE 7(6): e40122. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040122.
Georgiakakis P., Russo D. (2012). The distinctive structure of social calls by Hanák’s dwarf bat Pipistrellus hanaki. Acta Chiropterologica 14: 167-174
  Russo D., Cistrone L. & Jones G (2012). Sensory ecology of water detection by bats: a field experiment. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48144. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048144,

Bosso L., Rebelo H., Garonna A.P., Russo D. (2012). Modelling geographic distribution and detecting conservation gaps in Italy for the threatened beetle Rosalia alpina. Journal for Nature Conservation (in press).

Cagnacci F., Cardini A., Ciucci P., Ferrari N., Mortelliti A., Preatoni D.G., Russo D., Scandura M., Wauters L.A., Amori G. (2012). Less is more: a researcherís survival guide in times of economic crisis. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy 23: 1-7. 

Ancillotto L., Serangeli M.T. & Russo D. (2013). Curiosity killed the bat: Domestic cats as bat predators. Mammalian Biology.

Caci G., Biscaccianti A.B., Cistrone L., Bosso L., Garonna A.P., Russo D. (2013). Spotting the right spot: computer-aided individual identification of the threatened cerambycid beetle Rosalia alpina. Journal of Insect Conservation.

Roscioni F., Russo D., Di Febbraro M., Frate L., Carranza M.L., Loy A. (2013). Regional-scale modelling of the cumulative impact of wind farms on bats. Biodiversity and Conservation 22: 1821-1835.

Dool, S., Puechmaille S., Dietz C., Juste J., Ibanez C., Hulva P., Roue S., Petit E., Jones G., Russo D., Toffoli R., Viglino A., Martinoli A., Rossiter S.J. & Teeling E. (2013) Phylogeography and postglacial recolonisation of Europe by Rhinolophus hipposideros: evidence from multiple genetic markers. Molecular Ecology 22: 4055-4070.

Maiorano L., Amori G., Capula M., Falcucci A., Masi M., Montemaggiori A., Pottier J., Psomas A., Rondinini C., Russo D., Zimmermann N.E., Boitani L., Guisan A. (2013). Threats from Climate Change to Terrestrial Vertebrate Hotspots in Europe. PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0074989.

Ancillotto L., Sozio G., Mortelliti A. & Russo D. (2013). Ultrasonic communication in Gliridae (Rodentia): the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) as a case study. Bioacoustics (in press).

Tomassini A., Colangelo P., Agnelli P., Jones G., Russo D. (2014). Cranial size has increased over 133 years in a common bat, Pipistrellus kuhlii: a response to changing climate or urbanization? Journal of Biogeography.

Ancillotto L., Russo D. (2014). Selective aggressiveness in European free-tailed bats (Tadarida teniotis): influence of familiarity, age and sex. Naturwissenschaften (in press).

Roscioni F., Rebelo H., Russo D., Carranza M.L., Di Febbraro M.,  Loy A. (2014). A modelling approach to infer the effects of wind farms on landscape connectivity for bats. Landscape Ecology.

Ancillotto L., Russo D. (2014). Reassessing the breeding range limits for two long-distance migratory vespertilionid bats, Pipistrellus nathusii and Nyctalus leisleri in the Italian Peninsula. Mammalia, DOI 10.1515/mammalia-2014-0009
Ancillotto L., Rydell J., Nardone V. & Russo D. (2014). Coastal cliffs on islands as foraging habitat for bats. Acta Chiropterologica 16: 103-108.
Ancillotto L., Cistrone L., Mosconi F., Jones G., Boitani L., Russo D. (2014). The importance of non-forest landscapes for the conservation of forest bats: lessons from barbastelles (Barbastella barbastellus). Biodiversity and Conservation. DOI 10.1007/s10531-014-0802-7.
Russo D., Di Febbraro M., Rebelo H., Mucedda M., Cistrone L., Agnelli P., De Pasquale P.P., Martinoli A., Scaravelli D., Spilinga C., Bosso L.  (2014) What story does geographic separation of insular bats tell? A case study on Sardinian rhinolophids. PLoS ONE 9(10): e110894. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110894.
Ancillotto L., Allegrini C., Serangeli M.T., Jones G., Russo D. (2014). Sociality across species: spatial proximity of newborn bats promotes heterospecific social bonding. Behavioral Ecology doi: 10.1093/beheco/aru193.
Russo D., Ancillotto L. (2014). Sensitivity of bats to urbanization: a review. Mammalian Biology.
Rydell J, Russo D (2014). Photography as a low-impact method to survey bats. Mammalian Biology.
Stoycheva S., Pavlova A., Russo D., Deleva S., Atanassov T. (2014). Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in Besaparski Ridove Special Protection Area (Natura 2000), Southern Bulgaria: Species List, Distribution and Conservation. Acta Zoologica Bulgaricasuppl. 5: 213-220.
Russo D., Papadatou E. (2014). Acoustic identification of free-flying Schreiber’s bat Miniopterus schreibersii by social calls. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy 25. DOI: 10.4404/hystrix-25.2-10933.


Russo, D. & Sulli C. (2011). Conservazione della Natura e Gestione delle Aree Protette. Liguori (in Italian).

Russo, D. (2013). La Vita Segreta dei Pipistrelli. Orme-Tarka (in Italian).

Clips 1,2 illustrate experiments carried out for the study we published in the Journal of Experimental Biology (Russo et al. 2007). The flight room was dark (films were shot with an IR videocamera).
Clip 1  shows a greater mouse-eared bat Myotis myotis seizing prey (a bush cricket whose movement was restricted by securing a small metal load to its thorax or legs) from a wooden tray filled with natural dry leaf litter. The bat prospects for prey circling in the flight room before approaching the feeding arena. The bat then locates its prey by listening to the rustling sound the moving cricket produces on dry leaves.
Clip 2  shows an identical situation, but this time Prof. Raphaël Arlettaz (Bern University) stays inside the room and watches the foraging trial from close distance. Noticeably, his presence seems not to affect at all the bat’s behaviour.

Listen to a pack of wolves howling close to where we were recording bats in the Judean desert, Israel (7th August 2013).

Fraissinet M., Russo D. (2013). Lista Rossa dei Vertebrati Terrestri e Dulciacquicoli della Campania. Regione Campania e Dipartimento di Agraria dell’Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II.