Reticulate evolutionary history of a Western Palaearctic Bat Complex explained by multiple mtDNA introgressions in secondary contacts

Coraman E., Dietz C., Hempel E., Ghazaryan A., Levin E., Presetnik P., ...More

JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, vol.46, no.2, pp.343-354, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/jbi.13509
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.343-354
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Aim There is an increasing evidence showing that species within various taxonomic groups have reticulate evolutionary histories with several cases of introgression events. Investigating the phylogeography of species complexes can provide insight into these introgressions, and when and where these hybridizations occurred. In this study, we investigate the biogeography of a widely distributed Western Palaearctic bat species complex, namely Myotis nattereri sensu lato. This complex exhibits high genetic diversity and in its western distribution range is composed of deeply diverged genetical lineages. However, little is known about the genetic structure of the eastern populations. We also infer the conservation and taxonomical implications of the identified genetic divergences. Taxon Myotis nattereri sensu lato including M. schaubi. Location Western Palaearctic. Methods We analysed 161 specimens collected from 67 locations and sequenced one mitochondrial and four nuclear DNA markers, and combined these with the available GenBank sequences. We used haplotype networks, PCA, t-SNE and Bayesian clustering algorithms to investigate the population structure and Bayesian trees to infer the phylogenetic relationship of the lineages. Results We identified deeply divergent genetical lineages. In some cases, nuclear and mitochondrial markers were discordant, which we interpret are caused by hybridization between lineages. We identified three such introgression events. These introgressions occurred when spatially separated lineages came into contact after range expansions. Based on the genetic distinction of the identified lineages, we suggest a revision in the taxonomy of this species group with two possible new species: M. hoveli and M. tschuliensis. Main conclusions Our findings suggest that the M. nattereri complex has a reticulate evolutionary history with multiple cases of hybridizations between some of the identified lineages.