Phylogeography of the Rickett's big-footed bat, Myotis pilosus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae): A novel pattern of genetic structure of bats in China

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Background: China is characterized by complex topographic structure and dramatic palaeoclimatic changes, making species biogeography studies particularly interesting. Previous researchers have also demonstrated multiple species experienced complex population histories, meanwhile multiple shelters existed in Chinese mainland. Despite this, species phylogeography is still largely unexplored. In the present study, we used a combination of microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to investigate the phylogeography of the east Asian fish-eating bat (Myotis pilosus). Results: Phylogenetic analyses showed that M. pilosus comprised three main lineages: A, B and C, which corresponded to distinct geographic populations of the Yangtze Plain (YTP), Sichuan Basin (SCB) and North and South of China (NSC), respectively. The most recent common ancestor of M. pilosus was dated as 0.25 million years before present (BP). Population expansion events were inferred for populations of Clade C, North China Plain region, Clade B and YunGui Plateau region at 38,700, 15,900, 4,520 and 4,520 years BP, respectively. Conflicting results were obtained from mtDNA and microsatellite analyses; strong population genetic structure was obtained from mtDNA data but not microsatellite data. The microsatellite data indicated that genetic subdivision fits an isolation-by-distance (IBD) model, but the mtDNA data failed to support this model. Conclusions: Our results suggested that Pleistocene climatic oscillations might have had a profound influence on the demographic history of M. pilosus. Spatial genetic structures of maternal lineages that are different from those observed in other sympatric bats species may be as a result of interactions among special population history and local environmental factors. There are at least three possible refugia for M. pilosus during glacial episodes. Apparently contradictory genetic structure patterns of mtDNA and microsatellite could be explained by male-mediated gene flow among populations. This study also provides insights on the necessity of conservation of M. pilosus populations to conserve this genetic biodiversity, especially in the areas of YTP, SCB and NSC regions. © 2013 Lu et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Lu, G., Lin, A., Luo, J., Blondel, D. V., Meiklejohn, K. A., Sun, K., & Feng, J. (2013). Phylogeography of the Rickett’s big-footed bat, Myotis pilosus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae): A novel pattern of genetic structure of bats in China. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13(1).

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