Phyllostomidae

Dietary Diversification and Specialisation in New World Bats Facilitated by Early Molecular Evolution

Dietary adaptation is a major feature of phenotypic and ecological diversification, yet the genetic basis of dietary shifts is poorly understood. Among mammals, Neotropical leaf-nosed bats (family Phyllostomidae) show unmatched diversity in diet; …

Diversity in olfactory receptor repertoires is associated with dietary specialization in a genus of frugivorous bat

Mammalian olfactory receptors (ORs) are a diverse family of genes encoding proteins that directly interact with environmental chemical cues. ORs evolve via gene duplication in a birth-death fashion, neofunctionalizing and pseudogenizing over time. Olfaction is a primary sense used for food detection in plant-visiting bats, but the relationship between dietary specialization and OR repertoires is unclear. Within neotropical Leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae), many lineages are plant specialists, and some have a distinct OR repertoire compared to insectivorous species. Yet, whether specialization on particular plant genera is associated with the evolution of more specialized OR repertoires has never been tested. Using targeted sequence capture, we sequenced the OR repertoires of three sympatric species of short-tailed leaf-nosed bats (*Carollia*), which vary in their degree of specialization on the fruits of *Piper* plants. We characterized orthologous versus duplicated receptors among *Carollia* species, and identified orthologous receptors and associated paralogs to explore the diversity and redundancy of the receptor gene repertoire. The most dedicated *Piper* specialist, *Carollia castanea*, had lower OR diversity compared to the two more generalist species (*sowelli*, *perspicillata*), but we discovered a few unique sets of ORs within *C. castanea* with exceptional redundancy of similar gene duplicates. These unique receptors potentially enable *C. castanea* to detect *Piper* fruit odorants to an extent that the other species cannot. *C. perspicillata*, the species with the most generalist diet, had a larger diversity of functional receptors, suggesting the ability to detect a wider range of odorant molecules. The variation among ORs may be a factor in the coexistence of these sympatric species, facilitating the exploitation of different plant resources. Our study sheds light on how gene duplication plays a role in dietary adaptations and underlies patterns of ecological interactions between bats and plants.

Phyllostomid Bats: A unique Mammalian Radiation

With over two-hundred species distributed across most of mainland Mexico, Central and South America, and islands in the Caribbean Sea, the Phyllostomidae bat family (American leaf-nosed bats) is one of the world’s most diverse mammalian families in terms of its trophic, or feeding, diversity.

Adapt or Live: Adaptation, Convergent Evolution, and Plesiomorphy

A diversity of cranial phenotypes and feeding ecologies characterizes phyllostomid bats. However, many subfamilies share a similar insect-feeding morphotype, apparently stable over millions of generations. Is the diversity of phyllostomid traits …

Overview of This Book

This book discusses in detail the adaptive radiation of American leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae), the most diverse family morphologically, behaviorally, and trophically of all bats. It is divided into five major sections that cover the family’s …

Phylogenetics and Historical Biogeography

Traditionally, the phylogeny of phyllostomids contained a few subfamilies sharing similar cranial and ecological traits. Family-wide genetic sequence data starting in the early 2000s, however, showed that this phylogeny obscured the taxonomy, …

Species tree disequilibrium positively misleads models of gene family evolution

Gene duplication is a key source of evolutionary innovation, and multigene families evolve in a birth-death process, continuously duplicating and pseudogenizing through time. To empirically test hypotheses about adaptive expansion and contraction of multigene families across species, models infer gene gain and loss in light of speciation events and these inferred gene family expansions may lead to interpretations of adaptations in particular lineages. While the relative abundance of a gene subfamily in the subgenome may reflect its functional importance, tests based on this expectation can be confounded by the complex relationship between the birth-death process of gene subfamily evolution and the species phylogeny. Using simulations, we confirmed tree heterogeneity as a confounding factor in inferring multi-gene adaptation, causing spurious associations between shifts in birth-death rate and lineages with higher branching rates. We then used the olfactory receptor (OR) repertoire, the largest gene family in the mammalian genome, of different bat species with divergent diets to test whether expansions in olfactory receptors are associated with shifts to frugivorous diets. After accounting for tree heterogeneity, we robustly inferred that certain OR subfamilies exhibited expansions associated with dietary shifts to frugivory. Taken together, these results suggest ecological correlates of individual OR gene subfamilies can be identified, setting the stage for detailed inquiry into within-subfamily functional differences.

Morphological Diversification under High Integration in a Hyper Diverse Mammal Clade

Diversification and adaptive radiations are tied to evolvability, which in turn is linked to morphological integration. Tightly integrated structures typically evolve in unison, whereas loosely integrated structures evolve separately. Highly …

Updated distribution maps for neotropical bats in the superfamily Noctilionoidea

The IUCN provides a spatial database for many species, including terrestrial mammals. This database includes shapefiles with taxonomic information and the extent of occurrence for each species, and has been used in hundreds of studies in ecology, …

Assessing Soft-Tissue Shrinkage Estimates in Museum Specimens Imaged With Diffusible Iodine-based Contrast-Enhanced Computed Tomography (diceCT)

The increased accessibility of soft-tissue data through diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT) enables comparative biologists to increase the taxonomic breadth of their studies with museum specimens. However, it is …