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Morphological and genetic variation in Mormopterus jugularis (Chiroptera: Molossidae) in different bioclimatic regions of Madagascar with natural history notes
We investigated patterns of morphological and genetic variation in Mormopterus jugularis, an endemic Malagasy Molossidae. On the basis of external and cranio-dental measurements taken from adult specimens, the following conclusions can be drawn: there is notable sexual dimorphism, males being larger than females and there is no clear pattern of variation associated with bioclimatic, latitudinal or altitudinal zonation. DNA sequence analyses were based on 1078 nucleotides of the mt cytochrome b (cyt b) gene (n=20) and 351 nucleotides of the 5′ hypervariable region of the D-loop (n=50). A high haplotype diversity within M. jugularis (cyt b=0.995, D-loop=1.00) was combined with an absence of genetic structure. Analysis of molecular variance showed no significant grouping of haplotypes with latitude, longitude or altitude. D-loop diversity and neutrality analyses indicate that the Malagasy samples form a single population, which has been expanding for between 120,884 and 230,588 years. According to the MaxEnt potential distribution model, M. jugularis is predicted to occur ubiquitously across most of southern and central Madagascar, accounting for the observed genetic and morphological homogeneity of populations; observed specimen records north of 18°S occur in unsuitable habitats and may have arisen from recent expansion into synanthropic roosts. This species has a broad geographic distribution across much of Madagascar, encompassing the elevational range from 70 to 1750 m. The vast majority of known roosting sites are in human built structures, which are often shared with different species of Molossidae.
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