The fulvous fruit bat (Rousettus leschenaulti) and the greater short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus sphinx) are two abundant and widely co-distributed Old World fruit bats in Southeast and East Asia. The former species forms large colonies in caves while the latter roots in small groups in trees. To test whether these differences in social organization and roosting ecology are associated with contrasting patterns of gene flow, we used mtDNA and nuclear loci to characterize population genetic subdivision and phylogeographic histories in both species sampled from China, Vietnam and India. Our analyses from R. leschenaulti using both types of marker revealed little evidence of genetic structure across the study region. On the other hand, C. sphinx showed significant genetic mtDNA differentiation between the samples from India compared with China and Vietnam, as well as greater structuring of microsatellite genotypes within China. Demographic analyses indicated signatures of past rapid population expansion in both taxa, with more recent demographic growth in C. sphinx. Therefore, the relative genetic homogeneity in R. leschenaulti is unlikely to reflect past events. Instead we suggest that the absence of substructure in R. leschenaulti is a consequence of higher levels of gene flow among colonies, and that greater vagility in this species is an adaptation associated with cave roosting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences