|a male of the Greater Asiatic yellow house bat, Scotophilus heathii, from Kampong Speu province, Cambodia.|
in Tu, Görföl, Csorba, ... et Hassanin, 2021.
photo: Neil M. Furey.
Yellow house bats (Scotophilus) have been known for centuries as a widespread genus of vesper bats in the Indomalayan Region. Despite this, their taxonomic status and phylogeographical patterns remain unclear due to differing criteria employed by early taxonomists and inconsistencies between morphological and molecular assessments. To address these issues, we undertook a comparative phylogeographic analysis of Asian Scotophilus spp. using integrated genetic and morphological analyses of samples collected across the region. These demonstrate that yellow house bats in Asia can be classified into just two widespread species, namely the smaller S. kuhlii (e.g., FA ≤ 53.1 mm, GLS ≤ 20.18 mm) and the larger S. heathii (e.g., FA ≥ 53.4 mm, GLS ≥ 20.85 mm), which occur in sympatry in different parts of the Indomalayan Region. Although these two sympatric species share similar eco‐ethological preferences, they differ considerably in their geographic distributions and intraspecific variation in mtDNA sequences and morphological traits. These disparities were likely misinterpreted as indicating potential cryptic diversity in previous studies, whereas we suggest they are related to interspecific differences in sex‐biased gene flow and phenotypic plasticity to adapt to varying environments. Our study highlights the importance of using multiple datasets to resolve taxonomic uncertainties and reconstruct demographic and phylogeographic histories of sympatric species.
Keywords: comparative phylogeography, integrative taxonomy, multiple datasets, Scotophilus, sympatric species
Vuong Tan Tu, Tamás Görföl, Gábor Csorba, Satoru Arai, Fuka Kikuchi, Dai Fukui, Daisuke Koyabu, Neil M. Furey, Saw Bawm, Kyaw San Lin, Phillip Alviola, Chu Thi Hang, Nguyen Truong Son, Tran Anh Tuan and Alexandre Hassanin. 2021. Integrative Taxonomy and Biogeography of Asian Yellow House Bats (Vespertilionidae: Scotophilus) in the Indomalayan Region. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 59(3); 772-795. DOI: 10.1111/jzs.12448
Cover: Yellow house bats (Scotphilus) have been known for centuries as a widespread genus of vesper bats in the Indomalayan Region, yet their taxonomy, phylogeny, and phylogeography remain unclear. In a comparative phylogeographical study, Tu et al show that Asiatic Scotophilus comprise just two morphologically distinct species that co‐occur in many parts of the region, namely the smaller S. kuhlii and the larger S. heathii. Although these two species have similar eco‐ethological preferences, they differ considerably in their demographic and phylogeographic patterns, and vary geographically in their morphological traits. These divergences may reflect adaption to differing environments and interspecific competition in areas of sympatry during their evolutionary history.
The cover image features a male of the Greater Asiatic yellow house bat, S. heathii, from Kampong Speu province, Cambodia.
Tu et al. 2021. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. Volume 59, Issue 3, Pages 772–795, DOI: 10.1111/jzs.12448. photo by Neil M. Furey.