Miniopterus schreibersii is a complex, polytypic species group with a wide distribution ranging from Northern Africa, Southern Europe to Asia, the Solomon Islands and Northern Australia. Two subspecies previously recognized in Turkey, M. s. schreibersii and M. s. pallidus, differ significantly in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, and in morphology. Until now, the distribution records of M. s. schreibersii and M. s. pallidus showed that they were allopatric and hence even though there was clear morphological and genetic differentiation between the two taxa, whether they represented separate species or subspecies was still not determined with certainty. Here we present the first data on syntopic occurrence of both forms in three caves in south-eastern Turkey. We show that the three caves host individuals of both taxa by using mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA and morphometric analyses. These findings provide the final line of evidence to date, for designation of M. s. schreibersii and M. s. pallidus as two separate species, M. schreibersii and M. pallidus. This will raise the number of species in the Eurobats agreement area from 45 to 46.
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Vol. 14 • No. 2