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Michael D. Nowak

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Increased population sampling confirms low genetic divergence among Pteropus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) fruit bats of Madagascar and other western Indian Ocean islands


Fruit bats of the genus Pteropus occur throughout the Austral-Asian region west to islands off the eastern coast of Africa. Recent phylogenetic analyses of Pteropus from the western Indian Ocean found low sequence divergence and poor phylogenetic resolution among several morphologically defined species. We reexamine the phylogenetic relationships of these taxa by using multiple individuals per species. In addition, we estimate population genetic structure in two well-sampled taxa occurring on Madagascar and the Comoro Islands (P. rufus and P. seychellensis comorensis). Despite finding a similar pattern of low sequence divergence among species, increased sampling provides insight into the phylogeographic history of western Indian Ocean Pteropus, uncovering high levels of gene flow within species.