Population Genetic Structure of a Cave-Dwelling Bat, Myotis velifer




Parlos, Julie A.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Myotis velifer is known to exhibit a wide-range of geographically correlated morphological and behavioral variation, reflecting genetically unexplored ecological subdivisions. Unlike migratory chiropterans, genetic structure is generally found among chiropterans exhibiting non-migratory behavior. Interestingly, both migratory and nonmigratory behavior is noted among M. velifer. Previous morphometric analyses proposed existing barriers to gene flow among taxonomic subdivisions. Also, abandonment of historical roosts has been used to designate M. velifer as a species of concern throughout Texas. Genetic methods were used to evaluate whether population genetic structure is congruent with behavioral or taxonomic subdivisions and, assuming a decline is associated with roost abandonment, whether a population decline in Texas is the result of a history of demographic contraction. To explore these proposals and concerns, tissue samples were collected from roosts in the Texas Panhandle (3), central and west Texas (13) and the California-Arizona border (4), representing both behavioral designations and three taxonomic subdivisions. Mitochondrial sequence data (982 base pairs of Cytochrome b) from 104 individuals recovered 54 haplotypes and three haplogroups. Thirty-four microsatellite loci evaluated for cross-species amplification yielded four suitably polymorphic autosomal loci and one X-linked locus. Mitochondrial structure is not congruent with behavior, taxonomy, or geography and microsatellite data (n = 192) recovered no genetic structure. Mitochondrial data indicate weak regional fidelity, nuclear data indicate substantial gene flow, and demographic analyses indicate historic demographic expansion among M. velifer. The current subspecies of M. velifer are not genetically supported; however, incorporation of (or “accounting for”) morphological and behavioral data leads me to conclude that M. v. magnamolaris should be maintained for non-migratory populations. California specimens should be assigned to M. v. incautus designating M. v. velifer to only occur south of the United States border with Mexico. Analysis of Mexican and Central American specimens is needed to determine support for this nominator subspecies. Management of the two proposed United States subspecies should be across areas containing multiple roosts until conclusive evidence suggests causes of roost abandonment.



myotis velifer, bats, migratory animals, population genetics


Parlos, J. A. (2008). Population genetic structure of a cave-dwelling bat, Myotis velifer (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI