Overview

Brief Summary

Introduction

The family Vespertilionidae (excluding Antrozoidae and Tomopeatinae) contains almost one-third of living bat species (Koopman, 1993, 1994). Five subfamilies are currently recognized: Vespertilioninae (27 genera, 180 species), Myotinae (2 genera, 86 species), Miniopterinae (1 genus, 10 species), Murininae (2 genera, 16 species) and Kerivoulinae (1 genus, 22 species) (Koopman, 1993, 19994; Volleth and Heller, 1994; Simmons, 1998; Simmons and Geisler, 1998).

All vespertilionids are insectivorous, and most catch their prey in the air while flying. Some species, however, may glean insects off surfaces or trawl with their hind feet across lakes or streams to catch their food.

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Comprehensive Description

Characteristics

All Vespertilionidae share the following features:

  1. nasopalatine duct present.
  2. left lung undivided.
  3. m. mandibulo-hyoideus reduced to tendinous band.
  4. m. geniohyoideus originates by very short tendon.
  5. curved body of basihyal v-shaped.
  6. m. occipitopollicalis insertional complex included muscle fibers distal to band of elastic tissue.

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Distribution

Geographic Distribution

The geographical distribution of Vespertilionidae is shown in red. Distribution from Hill and Smith (1984).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Reproduction

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

View Vespertilionidae Tree

Tree from Simmons and Geisler (1998).

Five subfamilies are currently recognized in Vespertilionidae: Vespertilioninae, Myotinae, Miniopterinae, Murininae, and Kerivoulinae (Volleth and Heller, 1994; Simmons, 1998; Simmons and Geisler, 1998). Of these, the latter three are each clearly monophyletic (for a list of synapomorphies see Simmmons, 1998). Separation of Myotinae from Vespertilioninae is suggested by chromosome data (Volleth and Heller, 1994) and results of Simmons' (1998) and Simmons and Geisler's (1998) phylogenetic analyses, but DNA hybridization data have suggested that Myotis nests within a clade of vespertilionines (Kirsch et al., 1998). Monophyly of Myotinae (Myotis + Lasionycteris) remains uncertain because no unambigous morphological synapomorphies diagnose this group, and no chromosome data are available for Lasionycteris. Monophyly of Myotis is supported by dervied chromosomal features (Volleth and Heller, 1994), but it is not known if any or all of these traits also occur in Lasionycteris. Monophyly of Vespertilioninae (excluding Myotinae) is also supported only by chromosome data (Volleth and Heller, 1994). Unfortunately, comparable chromosome data are not available for Lasiurini or Antrozoidae, leaving open the possibility that Vespertilioninae may be paraphyletic.

The most comprehensive study of vespertilionid relationships is that of Volleth and Heller (1994), who examined banded chromosomes of Old World representatives of over 20 genera. They found support for monophyly of Vespertilioninae (excluding Myotis). Using Natalus (Natalidae) and Molossus (Molossidae) as outgroups, Volleth and Heller (1994) found support for vespertilionid monophyly with Miniopterinae occupying the most basal branch in the family tree. This contrasts somewhat with Simmons' (1998) and Simmons and Geisler's (1998) tree topology, which placed Vespertilioninae as the basal branch. Volleth and Heller could not resolve the relative relationships of Myotinae, Murininae, and Kerivoulinae, but their results do not contradict Simmons' (1998) and Simmons and Geisler's (1998) findings that Murininae and Kerivoulinae form a clade with Myotinae as their sister-taxon.

Alternative tree from Volleth and Heller (1994):

     ========= Miniopterinnae 
|
| ====== Kerivoulinae
| |
=====| |===== Murininae
===|
|===== Myotinae
|
====== Vespertilioninae

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:6941
Specimens with Sequences:5310
Specimens with Barcodes:5034
Species:432
Species With Barcodes:372
Public Records:2973
Public Species:275
Public BINs:353
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Vesper bat

Vesper bats (family Vespertilionidae), also known as evening bats or common bats, are the largest and best-known family of bats. They belong to the suborder Microchiroptera (microbats). Over 300 species are distributed all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica. It owes its name to the Latin word vespertilio ("bat"), from vesper, meaning "evening".

History[edit]

Molecular data indicate Vespertilionidae diverged from Molossidae in the early Eocene period.[2] The family is thought to have originated somewhere in Laurasia, possibly North America.[3]

Characteristics[edit]

Almost all vesper bats are insectivores, exceptions being some Myotis and Pizonyx species that catch fish and the larger Nyctalus species that have been known on occasion to catch small passerine birds in flight. The dental formula of vesper bats varies between species:

Dentition
1-2.1.1-3.3
2-3.1.2-3.3

They rely mainly on echolocation, but they lack the enlarged noses some microbats have to improve the ultrasound beam, and instead "shout" through their open mouths to project their ultrasound beams. In compensation, many species have relatively large ears.

As a group, vesper bats cover the full gamut of flight ability, with the relatively weak-flying Pipistrellus that have fluttery, almost insect-like flight to the long-winged and fast-flying genera such as Lasiurus and Nyctalus. The family size range is from 3 to 13 cm (1.2 to 5.1 in) in length, excluding the tail, which is itself quite long in most species. They are generally brown or grey in color, but some have brightly colored fur, with reds, oranges, and yellows all being known, and many having white patches or stripes.[4]

Most species roost in caves, although some make use of hollow trees, rocky crevices, animal burrows, or other forms of shelter. Colony sizes also vary greatly, with some roosting alone, and others in groups up to a million individuals. Species native to temperate latitudes typically hibernate, while a few of the tropical species aestivate.[4]

Classification[edit]

Four subfamilies are recognized:

Family Vespertilionidae

The above grouping of subfamilies is the classification according to Simmons and Geisler (1998). Other authorities raise three subfamilies more: Antrozoinae (which is here the separate family of pallid bats), Tomopeatinae (now regarded as a subfamily of the free-tailed bats), and Nyctophilinae (here included in Vespertilioninae).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fenton, M. B. (2001). Bats. New York: Checkmark Books. p. 5. ISBN 0-8160-4358-2. 
  2. ^ Miller-Butterworth, C. M., Murphy, W. J., O'Brien, S. J., Jacobs, D. S., Springer, M. S. & Teeling, E. C. (2007). "A family matter: conclusive resolution of the taxonomic position of the long-fingered bats, Miniopterus". Molecular Biology and Evolution 24 (7): 1553–1561. doi:10.1093/molbev/msm076. PMID 17449895. 
  3. ^ Teeling, E. C., Springer, M. S., Madsen, O., Bates, P., O'Brien, S. J. & Murphy, W. J. (2005). "A molecular phylogeny for bats illuminates biogeography and the fossil record". Science 307 (5709): 580–584. doi:10.1126/science.1105113. PMID 15681385. 
  4. ^ a b Macdonald, D., ed. (1984). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. p. 807. ISBN 0-87196-871-1. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Corbet, GB, Hill JE. 1992. The mammals of the Indomalayan region: a systematic review. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Karim, C., A.A. Tuen and M.T. Abdullah. 2004. Mammals. Sarawak Museum Journal Special Issue No. 6. 80: 221-234.
  • Wilson DE, Reeder DM. 2005. Mammal species of the world. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC.
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