Caribbean

Where the wild things were: intrinsic and extrinsic extinction predictors in the world's most depleted mammal fauna

Preventing extinctions requires understanding macroecological patterns of vulnerability or persistence. However, correlates of risk can be nonlinear, within-species risk varies geographically, and current-day threats cannot reveal drivers of past …

Out of the Antilles: Fossil Phylogenies Support Reverse Colonization of Bats to South America

Previous phylogenies of extant short‐faced bats (Chiroptera Stenodermatina) supported either two colonization events from the mainland to the Antilles, or reverse colonization, but lacked both fossil data and statistical modelling of biogeography. …

Anthropogenic Extinction Dominates Holocene Declines of West Indian Mammals

The extensive postglacial mammal losses in the West Indies provide an opportunity to evaluate extinction dynamics, but limited data have hindered our ability to test hypotheses. Here, we analyze the tempo and dynamics of extinction using a novel data …

Recent extinctions disturb path to equilibrium diversity in Caribbean bats

Islands are ideal systems to model temporal changes in biodiversity and reveal the influence of humans on natural communities. Although theory predicts biodiversity on islands tends towards an equilibrium value, the recent extinction of large …

Records of the cave-dwelling bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of Hispaniola with an examination of seasonal variation in diversity

Despite a long history of scientific collection of bats, Hispaniola remains the least studied island of the Greater Antilles. Using standardized trapping methods during the wet and dry season at four major caves — Honda de Julián, La Chepa, Los …

West Indian Mammals: the Old, the New, and the Recently Extinct

The West Indian mammal fauna has played a key role in the development of biogeographic ideas for over a century, but a synthesis explaining regional patterns of mammal diversity and distribution in a historical framework has not emerged. We review …

Earth history and the evolution of Caribbean bats

Although the natural history of the Caribbean is better understood now than ever before, a general biogeographic explanation for the peculiar faunal composition of the islands remains elusive. New molecular phylogenetic and divergence analyses …

The geography of diversification in the mormoopids (Chiroptera: Mormoopidae)

The traditional explanation of the distribution of the Mormoopidae is that this family originated in southern Central America or northern South America, later expanding its range north to Mexico and the West Indies, and differentiating into eight species. An alternative fossil-based hypothesis argues that the family originated in the northern Neotropics, reached the Caribbean early in its history, and dispersed to South America after the completion of the Isthmus of Panama. The present study analyses new and previously published sequence data from the mitochondrial 12S, tRNAval, 16S, and cytochrome b, and the nuclear Rag2, to evaluate species boundaries and infer relationships among extant taxa. Fixed differences in cytochrome b often coincide with published morphological characters and show that the family contains at least 13 species. Two additional, morphologically indistinct, lineages are restricted to Suriname and French Guiana. Phylogeny-based inferences of ancestral area are equivocal on the geographical origin of mormoopids, in part because several internal nodes are not resolved with the available data. Divergences between Middle American and Antillean populations are greater than those between Mexico/Central America and South America. This suggests that mormoopids diversified in northern Neotropics before entering South America. A northern neotropical origin for mormoopids is congruent with both the Tertiary fossil record and recent phylogenetic hypotheses for the sister family to the Mormoopidae, the Phyllostomidae.

Molecular phylogeny of funnel-eared bats (Chiroptera: Natalidae), with notes on biogeography and conservation

Two assumptions have framed previous systematic and biogeographic studies of the family Natalidae: that it comprises a few widespread species, and that extant lineages originated in Mexico and/or Central America. This study analyzes new sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome b and the nuclear Rag2, to clarify species boundaries and infer relationships among extant taxa. Fixed differences in cytochrome b coincide with published morphological characters, and show that the family includes at least eight species. One newly recognized species is known to live from a single locality in Jamaica, suggesting immediate conservation measures and underscoring the urgency of taxonomic revision. Among the three genera, Chilonatalus and Natalus form a clade, to the exclusion of Nyctiellus. This phylogeny and the geographic distribution of natalids, both extant and extinct, are hardly compatible with a Middle American origin for the group. Instead, extant natalids appear to have originated in the West Indies. The threat of Caribbean hurricanes early in their evolutionary history might account for the specialized cave roosting that characterizes all natalids, even continental species.

Bats of Puerto Rico

Book Review.