Pipistrellus Simandouensis Monadjem, Richards & Decher And Hutterer, 2021
- GBIF Backbone Taxonomy
Biology: Pipistrellus simandouensis is currently known from two localities in West Africa, based on the four sequenced specimens (appearing in Fig. 2 A), one specimen from Mount Nimba in northern Liberia (Monadjem et al., 2013) and three from the Simandou Range in south-eastern Guinea (Decher et al., 2015). This species has also been reported from the Fouta Djallon in central Guinea (Decher et al., 2015); however, this has not been confirmed genetically and we have not been able to examine these specimens. However, all these sites are from upland regions of West Africa, ranging in elevation from the foothill slopes at around 450 m a. s. l., to the summit of some of the peaks at over 1200 m a. s. l. and higher. Therefore, we suspect that this is a species closely associated with these upland forested habitats. Because such upland habitats are relatively restricted in West Africa, and few are legally protected (Monadjem et al., 2016), we furthermore predict that this is a species under threat. Hence, we recommend that the conservation status of this species be assessed as a matter of urgency.
Diagnosis: A m e d i u m - s i z e d p i p i s t r e l l o i d b a t, assignable to the genus Pipistrellus on the basis of the presence of a small anterior upper premolar (Hill & Harrison, 1987) and phylogeny (Fig. 2). Some members of the genus Parahypsugo may also have this anterior upper premolar but differ in skull morphology and shape of rhinarium (Hutterer et al., 2019), the cranium being more inflated in Pi. simandouensis than in any Parahypsugo species. Pi. simandouensis is readily distinguishable from Pi. hesperidus (its sister taxon) by its unicoloured pelage (Fig. 4) and shape of baculum (Fig. 5); however, these two species are indistinguishable in craniodental or external measurements. It is significantly larger in external and cranial features (see below) than Pi. nanulus Thomas, 1904, Pi. rusticus (Tomes, 1861) and Pipistrellus deserti Thomas, 1902. It differs from Pipistrellus inexspectatus Aellen, 1959 by its unicoloured pelage (bicoloured in the latter) and lack of white on the trailing edge of the wing membrane. Pi. (Vansonia) rueppellii is readily distinguished from all other Pipistrellus species by its pure white underparts and is currently placed in a separate genus Vansonia Roberts, 1946 (Moratelli & Burgin, 2019). Finally, the poorly diagnosed Pi. musciculus Thomas, 1913 (which may not even be a Pipistrellus; Hill & Harrison, 1987), is far smaller in external and cranial measurements. Description: External characters: Pi. simandouensis is a medium-sized pipistrelloid bat (similar in size to that of Pi. hesperidus), but large for the genus Pipistrellus (in fact it is the largest within the genus in Africa), with a total length of 80 – 86 mm and forearm length 31 – 34 mm (Table 3). The pelage is bright yellowishbrown and paler below than above (Fig. 4), with the individual hairs being unicoloured on both the upper and under parts. The patagium and uropatagium are both dark brown. Typically for the genus Pipistrellus, the ears are subtriangular in shape, rounded at the tip, and dark brown in colour (Fig. 4 C). The tragus is also typical of the genus and is moderately long (roughly half of the length of the ear), relatively broad with a straight leading edge and convex outer edge (Fig. 9). It bears a markedly pointed projection, situated near the base and lying immediately below the indentation / notch of the outer margin. The rhinarium is as illustrated for the genus Pipistrellus in Hutterer et al. (2019), with the nostrils rounded in shape and obviously protruding from the snout. The external measurements of the holotype and other specimens of Pi. simandouensis are shown in Table 3. Craniodental characters: The skull is relatively robust for a Pipistrellus, while the rostrum is neither particularly broad nor narrow. The brain case is moderately inflated and rises distinctly and sharply above the level of the rostrum (Fig. 6) in contrast to the relatively flatter skulls of Parahypsugo spp. (Hutterer et al., 2019). The posterior of the skull does not end in an extended parietal / supraoccipital crest and the sagittal and lambdoid crests are poorly developed. The zygomatic arch is moderately robust. Cranial measurements for the holotype and other specimens of Pi. simandouensis are shown in Table 4. The dentition of Pi. simandouensis is I 2 / 3, C 1 / 1, P 2 / 3, M 2 / 3, which is typical of the genus Pipistrellus (Van Cakenberghe & Happold, 2013 a). In the upper tooth row, I 1 is not bifid and I 2 is relatively smallsized, not reaching half the length of I 1 (Fig. 7 A). P 1 is relatively small in all specimens examined, and in the toothrow, creating an obvious gap between C and P 2 (Fig. 7 B). Dental measurements for the holotype and other specimens of Pi. simandouensis are shown in Table 5. The penis of Pi. simandouensis is long (8.4 mm in the holotype), straight and covered by long hairs all over its length (Fig. 8). These hairs are mostly white, with only a few on the dorsal side are brown. The terminal glans is wider than the shaft (Fig. 8). Total length of the penis is about 10 % of total body length (Table 3). In its long and straight shape, the penis of Pi. simandouensis is similar to other species of the genus, such as Pipistrellus abramus (Temminck, 1840) and other Asian (Francis, 2019) and African Pipistrellus species (Benda et al., 2004). The bacula of Pi. simandouensis, Pi. grandidieri, Pi. hesperidus, Pi. nanulus and Pi. rusticus are presented in Figure 9. The baculum of Pi. simandouensis was notably shorter than the other species, with a total length of 1.32 mm. Baculum total length for the remaining species was: 2.00 mm (Pi. grandidieri), 1.47 mm (Pi. hesperidus), 2.98 mm (Pi. nanulus) and 1.52 mm (Pi. rusticus). Pi. simandouensis, Pi. hesperidus and Pi. rusticus were overall similar in morphology, presenting a slender-shafted baculum with a bilobed base and an expanded tip with two distinct prongs. However, Pi. simandouensis can be differentiated from Pi. hesperidus and Pi. rusticus on the basis of its robust, triangular base measuring 0.32 mm. Similarly, the projections of the tip in Pi. simandouensis are more pointed than in Pi. hesperidus and Pi. rusticus. The full suite of bacula measurements for all five species are provided in Supporting Information (Table S 4).
Etymology: This species is named after the type region, the Simandou mountain range in eastern Guinea.
Holotype: ZMFK-MAM- 2008.0302, field number: JD 614. The bat was collected by Jan Decher and team. It is an adult male fixed in formalin and currently preserved in 70 % alcohol, with the skull extracted and cleaned. Photographs of the head and tragus are illustrated in Figures 4 and 5, while the mandible and skull of the holotype are illustrated in Figure 6. Images of the entire skeleton of the holotype, including the skull, are presented in Supporting Information (Fig. S 1). The glans penis is illustrated in Figure 8 and the dorsal, ventral and lateral views of the baculum are presented in Figure 9. Type locality: Guinea, Macenta, Simandou Range, “ Whiskey 1 ” as mapped in Decher et al. (2015) (Fig. 1). The bat was netted on 25 February 2008 across a small creek in a forested ravine on the east slope of the Simandou Range (08 ° 32 ’ 53.84 ” N, 08 ° 53 ’ 48.07 ” W) at an elevation of 950 m above sea level. Paratypes: T w o o t h e r b a t s, a f e m a l e (ZMFK MAM 2008.0300; field number: JD 656) and a male (ZMFK-MAM- 2008.0301; field number: JD 661) identified as belonging to this species were captured 5.9 km to the south-west of the type locality at “ Foko confluence ” on the west slope of the Simandou Range, on 8 and 9 March 2008, respectively, as mapped in Decher et al. (2015), in more humid forest habitat and at 737 m above sea level. Both these specimens have been sequenced and clearly group with the holotype (Fig. 2 A) and can be considered as paratypes.