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The Iberian contribution to cryptic diversity in European bats

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We investigate the contribution of the Iberian bat fauna to the cryptic diversity in Europe using mitochondrial (cytb and ND1) and nuclear (RAG2) DNA sequences. For each of the 28 bat species known for Iberia, samples covering a wide geographic range within Spain were compared to samples from the rest of Europe. In this general screening, almost 20% of the Iberian species showed important mitochondrial discontinuities (K2P distance values > 5%) either within the Iberian or between Iberian and other European samples. Within Eptesicus serotinus and Myotis nattereri, levels of genetic divergence between lineages exceeded 16%, indicating that these taxa represent a complex of several biological species. Other well-differentiated lineages (K2P distances between 5–10%) appeared within Hypsugo savii, Pipistrellus kuhlii and Plecotus auritus, suggesting the existence of further cryptic diversity. Most unsuspected lineages seem restricted to Iberia, although two have crossed the Pyrenees to reach, at least, Switzerland.
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Keywords: CHIROPTERA; CRYPTIC SPECIES; EUROPE; IBERIA; MITOCHONDRIAL DNA; REFUGIA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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