Publication details

Detailed population genetic structure of two migratory cryptic species (Pipistrellus pipistrellus and P. pygmaeus) in continental Europe

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Year of publication 2007
Type Conference abstract
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Faculty of Science

Description Ecological and behavioural variations are often the most visible features of morphologically very similar species. Two recently discovered European cryptic species Pipistrellus pipistrellus and P. pygmaeus differ in some aspects (e.g. calls, foraging, roosts, activity). To test if the migration and hibernation behaviour differs between species, we screened historical (preserved museum samples) and recent (wing membrane tissues) material from underground mass hibernacula and sites of mass autumn invasions of pipistrelle bats (116 individuals, 10 localities). Using a PCR based species identification method we found no records of P. pygmaeus in this material. By examining the degree of population subdivision, a greater understanding of seasonal movements may be attained. Long migratory species may be expected to show low levels of genetic structuring. To compare genetic structure of both species, 15 polymorphic microsatellite markers were used. From 2006 to 2007 we collected wing membrane tissues from individuals of maternity colonies of P. pipistrellus (N over 250 ind.) and P. pygmaeus (N over 200 ind.), respectively. Colonies were in 20 to 700 km distance from each other, across the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. In spite of possible different mating behaviour in P. pygmaeus (not confirmed mass roosting in autumn and winter), genetic structuring of both species was very low and there were no signs of isolation by distance. It indicates high level of gene flow among populations even when separated by large geographic distances. Results suggest that mating during autumn migration or during hibernation is important means of gene flow among populations. Future analysis of mtDNA structure can bring additional information about the relative importance of males and females mediated gene flow.
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