The phylogenetic relationships and species limits within the chiropteran family Miniopteridae are poorly known in mainland Africa. Recent systematic studies in Madagascar have shown that this is a species-rich family, yet only eight species are currently recognized or hypothesized for continental Africa. Based on partial cytochrome b sequences and morphometric analysis, we describe a new species of Miniopterus that is endemic to a restricted, montane region of Liberia and Guinea. Furthermore, the taxonomic status of the West African Miniopterus schreibersii villiersi is resolved and shown to be a distinct species, M. villiersi, that is not closely related to M. schreibersii. Finally, the species M. inflatus is revealed to be paraphyletic, with the central African rainforest populations apparently not closely related to the savanna forms in eastern and southern Africa. Based on the results of this study, the number of Miniopterus species in Africa has increased from eight to 11, with more cryptic species likely to be discovered.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Tanya Romanenko for organizing A.M.'s first two field trips to Mount Nimba, and to Arcelor-Mittal Liberia for funding the field work. Peter Farnloe, Moses Darpey, and Korvah Vanyanbah provided valuable assistance in the field. Sincere thanks to the Gba Community Forest Management Body and the Forest Development Authority of Liberia. We thank Christiane Denys (Muséum national d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris) and Paula Jenkins (The Natural History Museum, London) for making specimens available to us. Collection and export of specimens were conducted under permits from the Forestry Development Authority, Liberia (permit nos. MD/127/ 2010/-1, MD/08/2012/-2, MD/175/2013/-18). Voucher specimens were submitted to the Durban Natural Science Museum (Republic of South Africa national and provincial import permit numbers. 13/1/1/30/2/9/10-237, 13/1/1/30/2/9/10-39, OP 1603/ 2013). This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1315138, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide grant, and an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship, Amanda Role-son Fund to J.T.S.