Cryptic species, defined as those that are morphologically indistinguishable but phylogenetically distinct, are common in bats and correspond to the majority of newly described species. Such seems to be the case of Glossophaga soricina, a generalist, glossophagine bat that is broadly distributed throughout the Neotropics. Several studies have found high levels of molecular variation within G. soricina, suggesting that it could be a cryptic species complex. Here, we explore data derived from two-dimensional geometric morphometric analyses of cranial characters and their covariation with environmental variables, aiming to test the existence of more than one species grouped within it and to contribute to the knowledge of its variation and evolutionary history. Variation in shape and size of skull and mandible supports the two main mitochondrial lineages reported in previous studies, one corresponding to the east side of the Andes (subspecies G. s. soricina) and the other one corresponding to populations from Mesoamerica and the west side of the Andes, in turn composed of at least three monophyletic and morphologically differentiated taxa. Environmental variables correlate with shape variation and might be responsible for convergences in shape and size between the species with the smallest distributions. Based on the evidence we present in this work we elevate four subspecies to the taxonomic level of species. The correct names for the species of the analyzed complex are: G. soricina (Pallas 1766), G. muticaMerriam 1898, G. antillarumRehn 1902, and G. valensMiller 1913.
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Vol. 102 • No. 1