Morphological studies of Malaysian bats suggest geographic variation and cryptic species

Whilst DNA barcoding is currently popular in bat studies, basic analyses of morphological characters of Malaysian bats, recently done by the UNIMAS team, still appears to be useful in providing important data on geographic variation and, even occurrence of potential cryptic species.

The first paper, a morphological study of Malaysian Kerivoula spp., by Hasan and Abdullah (2011) published in the Mammal Study, demonstrates the usefulness of using morphometrics in identifying species. The paper shows the presence of ‘K. papillosa type small’ in sympatric with ‘K. papillosa type large’ in Sarawak suggesting occurrence of potential cryptic species and indicating that further study is needed.

Another study on morphological variation, this time of the fruit bat Penthetor lucasi populations within Sarawak, by Rahman and Abdullah (2010) was published in Tropical Natural History. Morphometric analyses demonstrated that three different geographic populations in the area differed significantly in some external and craniodental measurements.

More details can be found in the full papers (contact for copies):
Rahman, M. R. A. and Abdullah, M. T. 2010. Morphological Variation in the Dusky Fruit Bat, Penthetor lucasi, in Sarawak, Malaysia. Tropical Natural History, 10: 141-158.

Hasan, N. H. and Abdullah, M. T. 2011. A Morphological Analysis of Malaysian Kerivoula (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae). Mammal Study, 36:87-97.