Zoological Studies

Vol. 57, 2018

(update: 2018.12.01; 12.17) 

Unusual Pipistrelle: Taxonomic Position of the Malayan Noctule (Pipistrellus stenopterus; Vespertilionidae; Chiroptera)

Sergei V. Kruskop1,*, Evgeniya N. Solovyeva1, and Anna D. Kaznadzey2


1Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
2A.A. Kharkevich Institute for Information Transmission Problems, RAS, Moscow, Russia

(Received 13 July 2018; Accepted 20 November 2018; Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan)

Sergei V. Kruskop, Evgeniya N. Solovyeva, and Anna D. Kaznadzey (2018) Despite huge progress in the systematics of bats and, in particular, of the Vespertilionidae family in latest years, the taxonomic position of a number of remarkable bat species has been uncertain until now, partly because of limits in acceptable comparative material. Researchers have previously placed the Malayan noctule, Pipistrellus stenopterus, into Nyctalus, because of similar body shape and proportions, or into Pipistrellus, based on karyological analysis. This study reassesses Pipistrellus stenopterus using available collection material and compares it to various members of Nyctalus and Pipistrellus, as well as with some other related and similar genera, based on respective morphological and molecular genetic features. This species demonstrates vast morphological peculiarities compared to other Pipistrellus-like bats. Nonetheless, both mitochondrial and nuclear genetic markers unequivocally place it close to other Asian pipistrelles, most probably in a sister position to the “javanicus” species group. We propose establishing P. stenopterus as a separate subgenus, Alionoctula. Our results also confirm that Pipistrellus is paraphyletic in its current state, and we suggest that further studies explore its internal taxonomy and limits.

Key words: Chiroptera, Taxonomy, Phylogeny, Vespertilioninae, Pipistrellus new subgenus.

*Correspondence: E-mail: selysius@mail.ru

Supplementary Materials: Appendix 1 | Table S1 | Table S2