We describe and formally name a species of big-eared bat (genus: Micronycteris), collected from the Lesser Antillean island of Saint Vincent. The new species is distinguished from its closest relative, Micronycteris megalotis, by its large size, distinct craniodental features, and by mitochondrial DNA variation. The distribution of the new species is restricted to the island of St. Vincent, southern Lesser Antilles. Relaxed molecular clock analyses indicate the most recent common ancestor between the St. Vincent species of Micronycteris and mainland populations of M. megalotis is less than 1 million years. Rising sea levels during the late Pleistocene likely contributed to the geographic isolation and subsequent allopatric speciation of this new species. Our data reinforce previous hypotheses regarding unrecognized species diversity within the M. megalotis complex.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank C. Cudmore, H. H. Genoways, J. Hoffman, P. Homnick, J. Kolba, J. Larsen, R. Larsen, and M. de Silva for their help in the field. K. Herbert-Hackshaw provided logistical assistance for the 2005–2006 fieldwork. We thank local authorities for their assistance, especially B. Johnson, C. Richards, and F. Springer. R. J. Baker and S. Solari contributed to discussions on the systematics and taxonomy of Micronycteris. H. H. Genoways made comments and suggestions which greatly improved this manuscript. A. Gardner provided nomenclatural assistance and P. Velazco and C. J. Phillips provided assistance with morphological terminology. H. Garner and K. MacDonald assisted with tissue loans from the NSRL. Molecular data were generated in the laboratory of R. J. Baker. The following individuals helped to arrange our examination of voucher specimens: L. Gordon (NMNH); E. Westwig, D. Lunde and N. Simmons (AMNH); B. Lim and J. Eger (ROM); R. Timm (KU); and S. McLaren (CMNH). K. Griffith (TTU) produced skull photographs and M. Grimson (TTU Imaging Center, Department of Biological Sciences) generated scanning electron micrographs. Fieldwork was supported by J. E. Sowell, A. Brown, the Biological Database Program at Texas Tech University, and Faculty Development grants from the University of Scranton. We thank the Garifuna Community, especially C. L. Noralez and C. J. Palacio, for their help with choosing a species epithet that best honors the Garifuna and their rich heritage.
Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Allopatric speciation