Cryptic mammalian species: a new species of whiskered bat (Myotis alcathoe n. sp.) in Europe
- Cite this article as:
- von Helversen, O., Heller, KG., Mayer, F. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2001) 88: 217. doi:10.1007/s001140100225
The analysis of morphological, behavioural and genetic characters of whiskered bats revealed a new European bat species within the family Vespertilionidae. We describe the morphology, karyology, genetic similarity, ecology and distribution of Myotis alcathoe n. sp. It closely resembles Myotis mystacinus, Myotis brandtii and Myotis ikonnikovi in morphology, but all four species show clear genetic differences in two mitochondrial genes (ND1 and 12S rRNA). Myotis alcathoe n. sp. is the smallest species among the European whiskered bats and uses the highest-frequency echolocation calls of all the European Myotis species. It prefers to hunt in small valleys with deciduous trees and flowing water, which is an endangered habitat. Records from Greece and Hungary indicate a distribution range in south-eastern Europe.