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Systematics and phylogeography of the steppe whiskered bat Myotis aurascens Kuzyakin, 1935 (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae)
Tsytsulina K., Dick M.H., Maeda K., Masuda R.
P. 1-20
Phylogenetic relationships were examined among specimens identified as Myotis aurascens Kuzyakin, 1935 from across their distribution (Europe to the Korean Peninsula), and also among M. aurascens and other Myotis species. Phylogenetic reconstructions were based upon sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b and ND1 genes. In the cytochrome b analysis, the specimens identified as M. aurascens on the basis of morphology emerged as a polyphyletic group (referred to as clades A, B and C). Genetic data supported the status of clade A, which comprised most of the sequences, as a species distinct from M. mystacinus and the other species analysed. A paratype specimen of the form sogdianus Kuzyakin, 1934 appeared in the clade A of Myotis aurascens, which suggested clearly that they belong to the same species. However, despite that sogdianus Kuzyakin, 1934 should be considered a senior synonym of aurascens Kuzyakin, 1935, taking into consideration that a paratype does not have a name-baring function, we do not suggest to make any changes in the species name Myotis aurascens till further studies. In the morphometric analysis, M. aurascens showed a clinal pattern of variation in cranial length and most correlated measurements, which appears to be mostly independent from the mitochondrial gene patterns. Myotis nipalensis przewalskii appeared separately, with large genetic distances from M. mystacinus and the main M. aurascens clade. Our analysis suggests that because of the morphological similarity between M. aurascens, M. nipalensis, and the light coloured M. mystacinus throughout most of their distribution, identification of M. aurascens should be made on the basis of morphological characters, while in Europe and the Tien Shan Mountains region identifications should be made based on genetic data.

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