Abstract

From the early 1900s to the 1970s, all New World nectar-feeding bats were classified under the subfamily Glossophaginae. During the last few decades of the 20th century, however, several analyses supported the hypothesis that this taxon was an unnatural grouping. T. A. Griffiths (1982) proposed creating a new subfamily, the Lonchophyllinae, which would include Lonchophylla, Lionycteris, and Platalina, three genera formerly included in the Glossophaginae. This proposal raised significant controversy. A recent molecular study by R. J. Baker and colleagues (2000) examined the RAG2 gene DNA sequence in a large number of bats in the family Phyllostomidae, including Lonchophylla, Lionycteris, and Lonchorhina. The evidence suggested that Lonchophylla and Lionycteris are more closely related to Lonchorhina (a nonnectarivorous genus) than to the Glossophaginae sensu Griffiths (Platalina was not available for examination). In this study, I present observations on the lingual morphology of Lonchorhina that support Baker et al.'s placement of Lonchorhina with Lonchophylla and Lionycteris. While Lonchorhina does not exhibit the extreme adaptations for nectar-feeding found in the lonchophylline genera, it does share several derived lingual character states with the lonchophyllines. These character states are not found in Macrotus, Micronycteris, or Phyllostomus, other members of the subfamily Phyllostominae (in which Lonchorhina has traditionally been placed). While this is clearly a work-in-progress, data collected to date provide some support for Baker et al. 's hypothesis, and thus for Griffiths' (1982) original creation of the subfamily Lonchophyllinae.

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