Systematics of the genus Plecotus (Mammalia, Vespertilionidae) in Austria based on morphometric and molecular investigations

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:Spitzenberger, F., Pialek, J., Haring, E.
Journal:Folia ZoologicaFolia Zoologica
Date Published:2001///
Keywords:Austria, Discriminant functions, Genus Plecotus, Mammalia, Mitochondrial control region, Molecular analysis, morphometric analysis, Plecotus kolombatovici

Uni- and multivariate analyses of skull measurements of 215 Plecotus specimens (190 from Austria and 25 from the Balkan peninsula) revealed the existence of three morphologically distinct groups: P auritus (from all over Austria and Albania), P. austriacus (from NE and SE Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkish Thrace), and a third taxon that could be assigned to P. austriacus kolombatovici Dulic?, 1980 (from S Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Greece). Dendrograms obtained from a partial sequence of the mitochondrial control region of 24 Plecotus specimens grouped the material in three clades corresponding to the three morphological groups. These clades are differentiated by surprisingly high genetic distances (20.3-21.8% between austriacus and auritus, 28.8-30.2% between austriacus and kolombatovici, and 14.0-17.5% between auritus and kolombatovici). From these results we conclude that P. kolombatovici represents a very well differentiated species that is more closely related to P. auritus than to P. austriacus which it resembles morphologically. While P. austriacus is characterised by genetic uniformity throughout a wide geographic range from Spain to Thrace, P. auritus is genetically differentiated into an eastern and a western lineage. According to our results P. kolombatovici inhabits a distribution area extending from Liguria south of the Alps along the southern Balkan to Greece.

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