Genetic population structure and mobility of two nectar-feeding bats from Venezuelan deserts: inferences from mitochondrial DNA


Jafet M. Nassar, Biblioteca ‘Marcel Roche’ — IVIC, 8424 NW 56 Street, Suite CCS 00206, Miami, FL 33166, USA. Fax: + 58 (212) 504 1088; E-mail:


Glossophaga longirostris and Leptonycteris curasoae are nectar-feeding bats associated with arid zones in northern South America. Despite their close phylogenetic relationship, sympatric condition and niche similarities, morphological and ecological evidence suggest that these species differ in dispersal capabilities. Using mitochondrial DNA, we tested the hypothesis that these species exhibit different levels of population structure that are congruent with their particular movement capabilities. We sequenced a section of the control region of mtDNA for 41 G. longirostris and 42 L. curasoae from 11 zones in Venezuela. Population subdivision in G. longirostris (FST = 0.725) was considerably higher than in L. curasoae (FST = 0.167). L. curasoae individuals shared haplotypes at greater distances (812 km) than G. longirostris (592 km). Our results offer preliminary evidence for one of two possible scenarios, either greater mobility in L. curasoae or a higher degree of female philopatry in G. longirostris.