Thursday, April 26, 2018

[Mammalogy • 2018] Integrative Taxonomy Resolves Three New Cryptic Species of Small southern African Horseshoe Bats (Rhinolophus)

Rhinolophus gorongosae
Taylor, Macdonald, Goodman, Kearney, Cotterill, Stoffberg, Monadjem, Schoeman, GuytonNaskrecki & Richards, 2018 

photo: Piotr Naskrecki 
Examination of historical and recent collections of small Rhinolophus bats revealed cryptic taxonomic diversity within southern African populations previously referred to as R. swinnyi Gough, 1908 and R. landeri Martin, 1832. Specimens from Mozambique morphologically referable to R. swinnyi were phylogenetically unrelated to topotypic R. swinnyi from the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa based on cytochrome b sequences and showed distinctive echolocation, baculum and noseleaf characters. Due to their genetic similarity to a previously reported molecular operational taxonomic unit (OTU) from north-eastern South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, we recognize the available synonym (R. rhodesiae Roberts, 1946) to denote this distinct evolutionary species. This new taxon is genetically identical to R. simulator K. Andersen, 1904 based on mtDNA and nuclear DNA sequences but can easily be distinguished on morphological and acoustic grounds. We attribute this genetic similarity to historical introgression, a frequently documented phenomenon in bats. An additional genetically distinct and diminutive taxon in the swinnyi s.l. group (named herein, Rhinolophus gorongosae sp. nov.) is described from Gorongosa National Park, central Mozambique. Specimens from Mozambique referable based on morphology to R. landeri were distinct from topotypic landeri from West Africa based on mtDNA sequences, and acoustic, noseleaf and baculum characters. This Mozambique population is assigned to the available synonym R. lobatus Peters, 1952.


Family Rhinolophidae Bell, 1836
Genus Rhinolophus Lacépède, 1799

Rhinolophus gorongosae sp. nov. 
Least horseshoe bat

Etymology: The species derives its name from the Gorongosa district of Mozambique, in particular Gorongosa National Park, a biologically diverse region of southern Africa.

Rhinolophus rhodesiae Roberts, 1946
Roberts’s horseshoe bat

Etymology: The name refers to the location in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where the type specimen was collected.

in flight behaviour of Rhinolophus lobatus.

Photograph by P. Naskrecki

Rhinolophus lobatus Peters, 1852
Peters’s horseshoe bat

Etymology: The Latin word lobatus means lobed, perhaps referring to the general shape of the noseleaf.

Peter J. Taylor, Angus Macdonald, Steven M. Goodman, Teresa Kearney, Fenton P. D. Cotterill, Sam Stoffberg, Ara Monadjem, M. Corrie Schoeman, Jennifer Guyton, Piotr Naskrecki and Leigh R. Richards. 2018. Integrative Taxonomy Resolves Three New Cryptic Species of Small southern African Horseshoe Bats (Rhinolophus). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.  DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zly024
Descoberta de novas espécies de morcegos no Parque Nacional da Gorongosa e no Norte de Moçambique
A new study just published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society described a new bat species in southern Africa, named Rhinolophus gorongosae; it seems to occur only in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique and possibly also on nearby Mount Mecula. Using genetic and morphological techniques, R. gorongosae was found to be distinct from neighboring horseshoe bat populations. With a mass of only 5 g this “dwarf” becomes Africa’s smallest horseshoe bat.

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