The long history of the evolution of the reserve area, located at the junction of the steppe and forest natural zones, the complex topography of the territory, high diversity and mosaic of vegetation contribute to the rich fauna of animals on its territory.
At the same time, the insular nature of the forest has led to the isolation of populations of some species, some of which continue to exist in this status, while the other part has disappeared in historical time.
The insect fauna of the Voronezh Reserve is rich enough, but its inventory is still ongoing.
About 1,500 species of beetles (Coleoptera), over 1,200 species of Hymenopteran (Hymenoptera), over 1,000 species of dipteran (Diptera), over 700 species of Lepidopteran (Lepidoptera) and over 400 species of true bugs (Heteroptera) are found in the reserve.
The peculiarities of the distribution areas of insects found on the territory reflect the complex natural history of the area.
So, among the butterflies, there are such cosmopolitan as Painted lady (Vanessa cardui), a number of Holarctic species, for example, Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and Camberwell Beauty (Nymphalis antiopa).
At the same time, here you can observe such a boreal holarctic butterfly species as cranberry blue (Plebejus optilete), the larvaes of which feed on lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). Usmansky Pine Forest is the southern boundary of the distribution of both these species of butterflies and plants.
However, here you can also find the South European Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis Lucina).
The features of the reserve area make it possible to dwell steppe species, that inhabits steppe-like clearings and similar very xerothermous places with open soils. At the same time, under the forest canopy there are shade-loving species of butterflies, such as purple hairstreak (Quercusia quercus), inhabits oak forests of all kinds.
In oak forests there are species of beetles, characteristic to broad-leaved forests, such as (Calosoma inquisitor, Dendroxena quadripunctata, Dorcus parallelipipedus). Steppe (Calosoma denticolle, Zabrus gibbus) and Mediterranean species (Cylindera germanica, Lebia cyanocephala) are found in open areas among the forest.
The fauna of vertebrates is studied much more detailed. There are 344 species registered on the territory, including:
- Lamprey – 1;
- Fishes – 38;
- Amphibians – 9;
- Reptiles – 7;
- Birds – 228;
- Mammals – 61.
In the rivers of the reserve lives such a rare species as the Ukrainian brook lamprey (Eudontomyzon mariae). (Red Data Book of the Russian Federation, status – 2 (Decreasing Number).
Usmansky Forest is interesting because it is inhabited by an isolated population of Common toad (Bufo bufo).
European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) is found in the rivers and lakes of the reserve.
Lizards are represented in the reserve by several species, of which the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) is the most common and widespread.
Also, slowworm (Anguis fragilis), legless lizard, a specialized inhabitant of the forest floor is common, especially in broad-leaved forests.
A much rare species is the common lizard (Zootoca vivipara), found in alder forests. In the Voronezh Reserve, the species is located on the southern border of its range, emphasizing once again the natural originality of Usmansky Forest.
157 bird species nests in the reserve, including such species as short-toed snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus), greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), lesser spotted eagle (Clanga pomarina), white-tailed sea-eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), middle spotted woodpecker (Leiopicus medius).
The Voronezh Reserve is inhabited by typical animals of the Palearctic fauna. The most famous species are Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) and red deer (Cervus elaphus).
In the reserve live such artiodactyls as moose (Alces alces), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). Until 2015 the wild boar was very numerous, however, the African swine fever epidemic led to the complete destruction of the local population in Usmansky Pine Forest.
Large Carnivore are represented in the reserve by wolf (Canis lupus) (1-2 packs) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes), which are quite numerous.
Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is also common. Interestingly, that the population of this Palearctic arboreal, omnivorous rodent is isolated in Usmansky Pine Forest, but it thrives.
The diversity of biotopes, the abundance of food and the presence of good shelters create favorable conditions for numerous bats in the reserve. The rarest and most interesting of them - the greater noctule bat (Nyctalus lasiopterus).
In 2013, the presence of Nyctalus lasiopterus was confirmed in the reserve. The researchers caught young bats, meaning that a breeding micropopulation still exists in the Voronezh Reserve.
More information can be found in
Vlaschenko A., K. Kravchenko, A. Prylutska, E. Ivancheva, E. Sitnikova, A. Mishin. 2016. Structure of summer bat assemblages in forests in European Russia — Turkish Journal of Zoology, 40: doi:10.3906/zoo-1508-56.