Old World leaf-nosed bats (Hipposideridae) are among the most widespread and ecologically diverse groups of insectivorous bats in the Old World tropics. However, phylogenetic relationships in Hipposideridae are poorly resolved at both the generic and species levels, and deep genetic divergence within several Southeast Asian species suggests that current taxonomy underestimates hipposiderid diversity in this region. We used mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data to conduct the first extensive molecular phylogenetic analysis of Southeast Asian hipposiderid bats. Inclusion of multiple samples per taxon allowed testing for evidence of evolutionarily distinct lineages within taxa currently defined as single species. In contrast to earlier phylogenies based on morphometrics, molecular data support monophyly of Hipposideros, but are ambiguous regarding the monophyly of Hipposideridae. With a few exceptions, molecular data also support currently recognized species groups classified by qualitative morphological characters. Widespread paraphyly and polyphyly within many currently recognized species of Hipposideros indicates that evolutionary diversity in the genus is underrepresented by current nomenclature. Comparison of available morphological and echolocation data suggest that both geographic isolation and ecological selection have contributed to the diversification of Southeast Asian hipposiderid bats.
- Cryptic species