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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

Taxonomy with any species can get confusing, but it can be really challenging when one species is reclassified into another. There are usually excellent reasons for doing so which typically involve a close genetic study of the animal that reveals new information about its lineage and interrelatedness to other species.

Case in point: Tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) formerly the eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus). Most everyone I know still calls these little bats "the Eastern pip".

To quote wikipedia: Although traditionally considered a member of the genus Pipistrellus, a growing body of evidence suggests that the Eastern Pipistrelle is only distantly related to the pipistrelles proper. Hoofer and Van Den Bussche (2003) found the Pipistrellini (containing Pipistrellus s.s.Nyctalus, and Scotoecus) sister to the Vespertillionini. Both the Eastern and Western Pipistrelle were outside of this clade. They suggest that the Eastern Pipistrelle be removed from the genus Pipistrellus and placed in its own genus, Perimyotis.

And thus it was

© Michael Durham / tricolored bat
Tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

Tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
Tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

Tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
Tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

Jerry Coyne writes about the species classification debate with a post about elephants here:

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Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer