Conservation Genetics

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1435–1445

Sibling species in South Indian populations of the rufous horse-shoe bat Rhinolophus rouxii

  • Balaji Chattopadhyay
  • Kritika M. Garg
  • Vinoth Kumar A. K.
  • Paramanantha Swami Doss D.
  • Uma Ramakrishnan
  • Sripathi Kandula
Research Article


Cryptic species are difficult to identify using morphological identification tools. They represent hitherto unknown biodiversity and their discovery helps formulate more efficient conservation management policies. In this study we assess intraspecific diversity of Rhinolophus rouxii and investigate the presence of cryptic lineages. We characterize acoustic, morphological and genetic differences between allopatric populations of this species in Southern India. Our results reveal the presence of two distinct acoustic lineages (80 and 90 kHz phonic types). Forearm length also differs significantly between the two phonic types. They share a sister taxa relationship and the average genetic distance between them is over 8 %. Phylogenetic reconstruction and the associated divergence time suggest an evolutionary history that correlates with a middle Miocene separation. We propose that these two phonic types be called sibling species and evolutionarily significant units (ESU) within the subgenus Indorhinolophus. We recommend a new name, R. indorouxii for the species representing the 90 kHz phonic type. This study reiterates our lack of accurate taxonomic knowledge of bats, and highlights the value in combining genetics with behavioral (phonic characterization) and morphological measurements in the discovery of cryptic species.


Evolutionary significant units (ESU) Cryptic species Phonic type Rhinolophus rouxii Sibling species 

Supplementary material

10592_2012_361_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)
10592_2012_361_MOESM2_ESM.eps (423 kb)
Fig. S1Ultrametric tree depicting phylogenetic relationships and divergence times for partial cyt b sequence (696bp). Node bars represent 95% HPD, node labels represent the posterior probability of each node (EPS 423 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Balaji Chattopadhyay
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kritika M. Garg
    • 2
  • Vinoth Kumar A. K.
    • 1
  • Paramanantha Swami Doss D.
    • 1
  • Uma Ramakrishnan
    • 2
  • Sripathi Kandula
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesMadurai Kamaraj UniversityMaduraiIndia
  2. 2.National Centre for Biological SciencesTIFRBangaloreIndia

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