There have been no major advances in understanding the evolution of the Old World fruit bats (Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae) since the work of Andersen (1912, Catalogue of the Chiroptera in the collection of the British Museum, 2nd edition, Volume 1, Megachiroptera, British Museum of Natural History, London), nor have there been any rigorous cladistic analyses of megachiropteran interrelationships. Here we report a phylogenetic investigation of restriction endonuclease site variation in the ribosomal RNA cistrons of 25 species in 14 genera of Indo-West Pacific Megachiroptera. Twenty-three of the 82 mapped sites were phylogenetically informative. Analyses of these informative sites suggest three considerable modifications to the morphological understanding of megachiropteran relationships: (1) the most-parsimonious explanation of sitestate distribution is that the Macroglossinae (as previously defined) is paraphyletic with respect to other groups; (2) the cynopterine and rousettine sections are not shown as monophyletic sister groups in any of the most-parsimonious trees; and (3) Pteropus and Acerodon are not closely related to any other rousettine genera.
- Fruit bats
- Restriction fragment length polymorphisms
- Ribosomal DNA