n African Zoology - Morphological and molecular assessment of the specific status of (Chiroptera : Molossidae) from Madagascar and Africa

Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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The Molossidae bat has a broad distribution across portions of Africa and is also known from Madagascar. The African populations have been referred to the subspecies and those from Madagascar to . The subspecific differences between these two forms have been called into question. However, largely due to the rarity of the Malagasy subspecies in collections, it has not been previously possible to address this point. Recent bat surveys on Madagascar have found that this species is relatively common in portions of the west and south; using these new collections, we address the question of the distinctiveness of . External measurements and soft-part anatomy, as well as cranial and dental measurements and structure, revealed few differences between the African and Malagasy populations. Further, molecular comparisons using 1080 bp of mitochondrial cytochrome found a divergence of only 0.1% between South African and Malagasy populations, compared with a divergence of 13.3/13.5% between them and . Further, comparisons of 304 bp of the more variable mitochondrial d-loop revealed a divergence of only 1.2% between South African and Malagasy , compared with a divergence of 40.9/42.3% between them and . Consequently, we propose that no subspecific variation should be recognized in . A biogeographic analysis is presented with regards to movements of molossid bats between portions of eastern and southern Africa and Madagascar.

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