Since 2004 five new species have been described in the nectar-feeding phyllostomid bat genus Lonchophylla. All the new species are endemic to one Neotropical ecoregion, suggesting that more species remain to be discovered among collected specimens currently referred to several widespread taxa. Herein we describe a new species, Lonchophylla orienticollina, endemic to the middle elevations of the eastern Andes of Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. The new species superficially resembles its sympatric congener L. robusta, but its cranial morphology and combination of measurements are distinctive. Throughout its range, L. orienticollina is sympatric with L. robusta, and it also overlaps with L. handleyi in the Cordillera Oriental of Ecuador. The evolutionary processes leading to the divergence among Lonchophylla species, as well as the ecological mechanisms that enable multiple, subtly different species to coexist will remain obscure without new field and phylogenetic studies.
A combination of 1,140 base pairs of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of Platalina, Lionycteris, and several species of Lonchophylla (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) with 150 morphological, sex chromosome, and restriction site characters were used in an attempt to resolve relationships among the lonchophylline taxa. In addition, the monophyly of Lonchophylla was tested, particularly with respect to Platalina. The most parsimonious hypothesis of relationships using all available characters was (L. mordax ((L. chocoana (L. robusta, L. handleyi))(L. thomasi (Lionycteris, Platalina)))). Lonchophylla appears to be paraphyletic, but this arrangement is not well supported. Our analyses suggest that Platalina is not simply a large Lonchophylla, as had been suggested by previous morphological analyses. The low support values for basal relationships found in this study are probably caused by saturation in cytochrome b 3rd positions. Additionally, 2 alternative explanations are viable (if improbable): unsampled lonchophyllines are necessary to confidently resolve relationships at the base of the group, or the lack of resolution at the base of the lonchophylline phylogeny might be explained by rapid speciation following the separation from other glossophagines. Future work examining the phylogenetic relationships of lonchophylline bats should focus on describing new taxa, obtaining tissue samples from unsequenced representatives, and adding nuclear loci to this mitochondrial DNA data set.
Lonchophylla is a diverse genus of glossophagines characterized by large, forwardly projecting inner upper incisors and the absence of zygomatic arches. Seven species are currently recognized, including the large-bodied (greatest length of skull .24.5 mm) robusta, handleyi, hesperia, and bokermanni and the small-bodied (greatest length of skull, 24.5 mm) thomasi, dekeyseri, and mordax. Lonchophylla species range throughout the Neotropics and include endemics in Amazonia, the Cerrado, and the arid regions of coastal Peru and Ecuador. In this paper I describe a new large-bodied species, Lonchophylla chocoana, from the subtropical rainforests of the Choco ́ in southwestern Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. I also document the diagnostic external, craniodental, and mitochondrial characters of the new species and summarize morphological characteristics for the new species and its sympatric congeners.