| Author||Wim Bergmans|
|Title||Taxonomy and biogeography of African fruit bats (Mammalia, Megachiroptera). 2. The genera Micropteropus Matschie, 1899, Epomops Gray, 1870, Hypsignathus H. Allen, 1861, Nanonycteris Matschie, 1899, and Plerotes Andersen, 1910|
|Abstract||The genera Micropteropus Matschie, 1899, Epomops Gray, 1870, Hypsignathus H. Allen, 1861, Nanonycteris Matschie, 1899 and Plerotes Andersen, 1910 and the species assigned to them are reviewed. All the currently recognized taxa are maintained except subspecific partitions in Epomops franqueti (Tomes, 1860). The known characters are reviewed and discussed, and new characters presented, and their possible taxonomical implications mentioned.|
Of the skull characters traditionally used to distinguish Micropteropus from Epomophorus Bennett, 1836 relative rostrum length, relative zygomatic width and the form of the postdental palate are found to be rather in line with the tendencies in that genus. The palatal ridges in both species of Micropteropus are less different from those in Epomophorus than has generally been claimed but at the same time distinguish those species, as seem to do chromosome morphology (only known for M. pusillus (Peters, 1867)) and, probably, the anatomy of the vocalization organs. The original type specimen and locality of M. pusillus, disregarded since Andersen (1912) rejected them, are recognized. Within Epomops, a typical section is distinguished containing the forest species franqueti and buettikoferi (Matschie, 1899), while the woodland species dobsonii (Bocage, 1889) is considered atypical and possibly not congeneric. For the latter species a neotype is designated. In addition to earlier observed differences, the typical section of Epomops differs from Epomophorus in the morphology of its pterygoid wings. Epomops franqueti strepitans Andersen, 1910 is synonymized with the nominal subspecies as no satisfactory delimitation or transitional zone can be conceived. E. buettikoferi is maintained as a species on the basis of several sympatric occurrences with E. franqueti but the need for further research is recognized. Pterygoid wing morphology in Epomops dobsonii is as in Epomophorus, and its postdental palate exhibits transitional characters from typical Epomops toward Epomophorus; its palatal ridges are atypical and possibly derived from a pattern as in Epomophorus. Hypsignathus monstrosus H. Allen, 1861 resembles typical Epomops in its pterygoid wing morphology and palatal ridge pattern, and is less related to E. dobsonii than has been suggested. Some of the generic characters of Nanonycteris are rejected as neotenic traits. Several characters of Nanonycteris veldkampii (Jentink, 1888) suggest that Epomops dobsonii may be its nearest living relative rather than typical Epomops. In this small species females are (on average) larger than males in all measurements, which is the reverse of the situation in all larger epomophorines. Yet, males have relatively longer rostrums and larger zygomatic widths. Plerotes is confirmed as a genus combining primitive and specialized traits, but certain wing characters claimed to distinguish it are rejected and the need for wet preservation of future specimens is emphasized. P. anchietae (de Seabra, 1900) is known from nine specimens, most of which immature. A neotype is designated to replace the lost holotype. New cranial and fur characters are described.
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