The bat world currently includes three bamboo bat species: the Greater Bamboo Bat (Tylonycteris robustula), the Lesser Bamboo Bat (Tylonycteris pachypus), and the Pygmy Bamboo Bat (Tylonycteris pygmaeus). Of these, the Greater and Lesser Bamboo Bats are distributed widely in South and Southeast Asia while the Pygmy Bamboo Bat is only known from its type locality in southern China. Within Southeast Asia, Tylonycteris pachypus has been recorded from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam with five recognized subspecies: T. p. aurex, T. p. bhakti, T. p. fulvidus, T. p. meyeri, and T. p. pachypus. Recently, a bat specialist team conducted a study on karyotypes and Mitochondrial DNA of populations belonging to T. p. fulvidus from China and Thailand with reference to previously published data. The study results indicated that the Tylonycteris pachypus complex contains a cryptic species. Evidentially, karyotypes of T. p. fulvidus from China and Thailand (2n = 30) are distinct from those of T. p. pachypus (2n = 46) and T. robustula (2n = 32) from Malaysia. This exciting finding promotes further studies on karyotypes and genetics of all five recognized subspecies of Tylonycteris pachypus and Tylonycteris pygmaeus through their distributional ranges for extensive comparison and taxonomic confirmation.
Original citation: Huang, C., W. Yu, Z. Xu, Y. Qiu, M. Chen, B. Qiu, M. Motokawa, M. Harada, Y. Li, and Y. Wu. 2014. A cryptic species of the Tylonycteris pachypus complex (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) and its population genetic structure in Southern China and nearby region. International Journal of Biological Sciences, 10(2): 200-211.