Editor-in-Chief: Denys, Christiane
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Ecomorphometry of Myotis daubentonii and M. lucifugus (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) – a Palearctic-Nearctic comparison
The Palearctic Myotis daubentonii and the Nearctic M. lucifugus have traditionally been included into the subgenus Leuconoe due to their similar ecology and morphology. Recent molecular genetic analysis did not support this view since each of the two species was found to belong to another clade. The present paper is based on the analysis of eight external and 12 cranial characters in a sample of 158 M. daubentonii and 113 M. lucifugus, both species being represented by their nominate subspecies. Student t-test and principal component analysis (PCA) were used to test the variability and the impact of characters on interspecific differences. Significant sexual dimorphism was found mainly in M. daubentonii (females larger), hence in further analyses, males were separated from females. In both sexes, significant specific differences were found in most of the measurements, M. lucifugus having higher population averages than M. daubentonii. Only ca. 50% of variability was observed on the first two principal component axes in external characters but positive loadings suggested longer ears and tragi in M. lucifugus and negative loadings – longer feet and toe claws in M. daubentonii. PCA performed on cranial measurements provided ca. 70% of variability in each sexe. Insignificant specific differences on the first axis, influenced mainly by length variables of the skull including toothrows and mandible, suggest adaptations to analogous foraging strategies and diets. The projection of specimens onto the second and third principal components demonstrated significant differences between the species; these two axes were dominated by breadth and height of braincase, and interorbital constriction, respectively. The difference in the shape of neurocrania suggests different phylogenetic history in each of the species. The two bats are typical vicariants but their hunting habits do not seem to be identical, M. daubentonii appears to be more adapted to glean the water surface than M. lucifugus.
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