1. College of Life Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China.
2. The Kyoto University Museum, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.
3. Laboratory Animal Center, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka 545-8585, Japan.
4. Marine College, Shandong University (Weihai), Weihai 264209, China.
* These authors contribute to this work equally.
Three distinct bamboo bat species (Tylonycteris) are known to inhabit tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, i.e., T. pachypus, T. robustula, and T. pygmaeus. This study performed karyotypic examinations of 4 specimens from southern Chinese T. p. fulvidus populations and one specimen from Thai T. p. fulvidus population, which detected distinct karyotypes (2n=30) compared with previous karyotypic descriptions of T. p. pachypus (2n=46) and T. robustula (2n=32) from Malaysia. This finding suggested a cryptic Tylonycteris species within T. pachypus complex in China and Thailand. Morphometric studies indicated the difficulty in distinguishing the cryptic species and T. p. pachypus from Indonesia apart from the external measurements, which might be the reason for their historical misidentification. Based on 623 bp mtDNA COI segments, a phylogeographic examination including T. pachypus individuals from China and nearby regions, i.e., Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, was conducted to examine the population genetic structure. Genealogical and phylogeographical results indicated that at least two diverged lineages existed in these regions (average 3.4 % of Kimura 2-parameter distances) and their population structure did not match the geographic pattern. These results suggested that at least two historical colonizations have occurred by the cryptic species. Furthermore, through integration of traditional and geometric morphological results, morphological differences on zygomatic arches, toothrows and bullae were detected between two lineages in China. Given the similarity of vegetation and climate of Guangdong and Guangxi regions, we suggested that such differences might be derived from their historical adaptation or distinct evolutionary history rather than the differences of habitats they occurred currently.
Keywords: cryptic species, karyotypic examination, morphometric studies, population genetic structure, Tylonycteris.