The majority (90%) of native terrestrial mammal species living in the Dominican Republic are bats, and two-thirds of these species are endemic to the Caribbean. However, recent molecular studies using DNA barcoding of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene have suggested at least a 25% underestimation of biodiversity in bats throughout the world. A recent survey of bats in the Dominican Republic documented 15 of the 18 known species on the island of Hispaniola. Phylogenetic analysis of 132 individuals resulted in well-supported monophyletic species-level clades (maximal bootstrap values) with intraspecific variation ranging from 0% to 4.7% and interspecific variation ranging from 14.1% to 32.5%. A phylogeographic pattern separating the northern and southern Dominican Republic was recovered in 3 species of bats (Macrotus waterhousii, Pteronotus parnellii, and Pteronotus quadridens). The inclusion of broader geographic sampling across the Neotropics indicated that 3 widely distributed species (Eptesicus fuscus, Molossus molossus, and Monophyllus redmani) have high sequence divergence among insular or between insular and continental populations. Further systematic study is needed to identify morphologically cryptic species and their implications for conservation priorities in the Caribbean.
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Vol. 98 • No. 4