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Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 62(2)

A molecular and morphological investigation of species boundaries and phylogenetic relationships in Australian free-tailed bats Mormopterus (Chiroptera : Molossidae)

T. B. Reardon A B F, N. L. McKenzie C, S. J. B. Cooper A B, B. Appleton D, S. Carthew E and M. Adams A B

A School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.
B Evolutionary Biology Unit, South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
C Department of Parks and Wildlife, PO Box 51, Wanneroo, WA 6846, Australia.
D School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Vic. 3216, Australia.
E Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.
F Corresponding author. Email: terry.reardon@samuseum.sa.gov.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 62(2) 109-136 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/ZO13082
Submitted: 10 October 2013  Accepted: 2 February 2014   Published: 19 June 2014

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The taxonomic uncertainty surrounding several prominent genera of Australian microbat has been a long-standing impediment to research and conservation efforts on these groups. The free-tail bat genus Mormopterus is perhaps the most significant example, with a long history of acknowledged species-level confusion. This study uses a combined molecular and morphological approach to conduct a comprehensive assessment of species and subgeneric boundaries, between-species phylogenetic affinities and within-species phylogeographic structure in Australian members of Mormopterus. Phylogenetic analyses based on 759 base pairs of the NADH Dehydrogenase subunit 2 mitochondrial gene were concordant with species boundaries delineated using an expanded allozyme dataset and by phallic morphology, and also revealed strong phylogeographic structure within two species. The levels of divergence evident in the molecular and morphological analyses led us to recognise three subgenera within Australia: Micronomus, Setirostris subgen. nov. and Ozimops subgen. nov. Within Ozimops we recognise seven Australian species, three of which are new, and none are conspecific with Indo-Papuan species. The family Molossidae now comprises eleven species across three subgenera in Australia, making it the continent’s second most speciose family of bats.

Additional keywords: cryptic species, morphometrics, mtDNA barcoding, subgenera.


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