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Title: A New Subspecies of Bat (Myotis velifer) from Southeastern California and Arizona
Author: Vaughan, Terry A.
Language: English
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Volume 7, No. 8, pp. 507-512

July 23, 1954

A New Subspecies of Bat (Myotis velifer)
from Southeastern California and Arizona





Editors: E. Raymond Hall, Chairman, A. Byron Leonard,
Robert W. Wilson

Volume 7, No. 8, pp. 507-512
Published July 23, 1954

Lawrence, Kansas



A New Subspecies of Bat (_Myotis velifer_) from Southeastern California
and Arizona



The first specimens of _Myotis velifer_ from California were taken in
1909 by C. L. Camp at Needles, San Bernardino County (Grinnell, Univ.
California Publ. Zool., 12:266, March 20, 1914), and subsequently this
bat was recorded from farther south in the lower Colorado River Valley
at the Riverside Mountains, Riverside County (Stager, Jour. Mamm.,
20:226, May 14, 1939). West of the Rocky Mountains the species is known
to occur also in at least the southern two-thirds of Arizona,
southwestern New Mexico, and is recorded from Thistle Valley, Utah, on
the basis of two young specimens in alcohol (Miller and Allen, Bull. U.
S. Nat. Mus., 144:87, May 25, 1928). Through comparisons made possible
by the acquisition, in the last few years, of mammals from many parts of
Mexico by the Museum of Natural History of the University of Kansas, it
became evident that _Myotis velifer_ in California and Arizona was an
heretofore unnamed subspecies. It may be known as

=Myotis velifer brevis= new subspecies

     _Myotis velifer_, Grinnell, Univ. California Publ. Zool.,
     12:266, March 20, 1914; Grinnell, H. W., Univ. California Publ.
     Zool., 12:259, January 31, 1918.

     _Myotis velifer velifer_, Miller and Allen, Bull. U. S. Nat. Mus.,
     144:87, May 25, 1928; Burt, Jour. Mamm., 14:115, May 15, 1933;
     Burt, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 39:22, February 14,
     1938; Hatfield, Bull. Chicago Acad. Sci., 6:146, January 12, 1942.

     _Type._--Male, adult, No. 22631, Museum of Natural History,
     University of Kansas; Madera Canyon, 5,000 ft., Santa Rita
     Mountains, Pima County, Arizona; obtained on March 12, 1948, by J.
     R. Alcorn; original number 5571.

     _Range._--Lower Colorado River Valley in California and Arizona,
     through southern two-thirds of Arizona, southwestern New Mexico,
     and northern Sonora; southern limits of range unknown.

     _Diagnosis._--Size small (see measurements). Color pale, upper
     parts being near (16"_j_) Snuff Brown (capitalized color terms are
     of Ridgeway, Color Standards and Color Nomenclature, Washington, D.
     C, 1912); underparts dull Pinkish Buff to nearly white in some
     specimens; ears and flight membranes near (16"_l_) Olive Brown;
     skull small.

     _Comparisons._--From _Myotis velifer incautus_ (J. A. Allen),
     _Myotis velifer brevis_ differs in: Size smaller; color slightly
     darker; skull smaller. From _Myotis velifer peninsularis_ Miller,
     _M. v. brevis_ differs in: Size larger; color darker; skull larger.
     From _Myotis velifer velifer_ (J. A. Allen), _M. v. brevis_ differs
     in; Size smaller; pelage paler, with less extensive basal dark
     portion; skull smaller.


                      |    Sex    |  Number  | Average |     Range
                      |           | averaged |         |
      _M. v. velifer_, 4 km. E Las Vigas, 8,500 ft., Veracruz, Mexico.
Total length          |  [Male]   |    15    |   97.1  |   92.0-101.0
  "     "             | [Female]  |     9    |   99.0  |   93.0-103.0
Length of forearm     |  [Male]   |    27    |   44.1  |   42.1-46.0
  "    "     "        | [Female]  |    18    |   44.7  |   43.3-46.1
Condylobasal length   |  [Male]   |    15    |   15.9  |   15.4-16.2
     "          "     | [Female]  |     9    |   16.0  |   15.7-16.4
Interorbital breadth  |  [Male]   |    15    |    4.2  |    3.9-4.2
     "          "     | [Female]  |     9    |    4.1  |    3.9-4.3
Mastoid breadth       |  [Male]   |    15    |    8.4  |    8.2-8.5
   "      "           | [Female]  |     9    |    8.4  |    8.2-8.6
Zygomatic breadth     |  [Male]   |    15    |   10.7  |   10.4-10.9
    "        "        | [Female]  |     9    |   10.7  |   10.4-11.2
          _M. v. incautus_, 4 mi. E Sherman, Major Co., Oklahoma.
Total length          |  [Male]   |    11    |  101.5  |   97.0-107.0
Length of forearm     |  [Male]   |     9    |   45.4  |   44.6-47.3
Condylobasal length   |  [Male]   |    11    |   16.4  |   15.9-16.7
Interorbital breadth  |  [Male]   |    11    |    4.2  |    4.0-4.5
Mastoid breadth       |  [Male]   |    11    |    8.8  |    8.5-9.1
Zygomatic breadth     |  [Male]   |    11    |   10.9  |   10.5-11.3
_M. v. brevis_, Riverside Mtns., 35 mi. N Blythe, Riverside Co., California.
Total length          |  [Male]   |     8    |   96.6  |   91.5-99.0
  "     "             | [Female]  |     5    |   94.6  |   91.0-97.0
Length of forearm     |  [Male]   |    45    |   41.8  |   40.4-44.5
  "    "    "         | [Female]  |     6    |   42.1  |   40.7-43.4
Condylobasal length   |  [Male]   |    16    |   15.5  |   15.1-15.8
     "         "      | [Female]  |     5    |   15.4  |   15.1-15.8
Interorbital breadth  |  [Male]   |    16    |    4.0  |    3.8-4.2
      "         "     | [Female]  |     5    |    3.9  |    3.9-4.0
Mastoid breadth       |  [Male]   |    16    |    8.2  |    7.8-8.6
   "      "           | [Female]  |     5    |    8.3  |    8.0-8.5
Zygomatic breadth     |  [Male]   |    15    |   10.4  |   10.2-10.7
    "       "         | [Female]  |     5    |   10.4  |   10.1-10.6

_Remarks._--Miller and Allen (_op. cit._ :90) considered specimens of
_Myotis velifer_ from Roosevelt, Arizona, to be intergrades between _M.
v. velifer_ and _M. v. incautus_ because the color varied greatly and
certain pale individuals resembled _incautus_. These workers regarded
specimens from southern Arizona as nearly typical examples of _M. v.
velifer_. I have examined the specimens from Roosevelt, Arizona, and
many from various localities in the southern part of the state, and was
impressed by the large amount of color variation. Marked variation in
color at a single locality, however, is known in other bats. Benson
(Jour. Mamm., 30:50, February 14, 1949), for example, found striking
variation in _Myotis volans_ in California. The specimens of _Myotis
velifer_ from Roosevelt, Arizona, referred to _M. v. velifer_ by Miller
and Allen (_op. cit._ :90), actually average significantly smaller than
specimens of this subspecies from Mexico, and than specimens of the
large subspecies _M. v. incautus_ from the Great Plains, and therefore,
with reference to size, are not intergrades between these subspecies.
All of the Arizonan material is here referred to _M. v. brevis_.

The "bald spot," that is to say, the sparsely furred area between the
shoulders, which is characteristic of this species, reaches its most
extreme condition in _Myotis velifer brevis_. In most of thirty-five
specimens taken in mid-June, 1953, in California, the nape of the neck,
the interscapular area, and a connected area extending laterally onto
each shoulder are so lightly furred that the skin shows through
conspicuously. In one male of this series a strip approximately four
millimeters wide extending along the mid-dorsal line from between the
shoulders to the rump is mostly devoid of hair. These sparsely-furred
areas are less evident in live animals than in study skins and specimens
in alcohol, because the back of the head in life lies against the
depression between the shoulders and conceals most of the thinly furred

The pelage of _Myotis velifer brevis_ is shorter than that of either _M.
v. velifer_ or _M. v. incautus_ and gives the impression of being less
dense. The dorsal hairs average approximately 4.5 millimeters long in
_M. v. brevis_ taken 35 miles north of Blythe, Riverside County,
California, in May, eight millimeters in _M. v. velifer_ collected at
Las Vigas, Veracruz, in January, and six millimeters in _M. v. incautus_
taken four and one half miles southwest of Sun City, Barber County,
Kansas, in November. More than seasonal differences in length of pelage
is indicated by measurements of additional specimens of each subspecies
taken at different times of the year.

Considering its extensive geographic range and its occurrence in many
contrasting environments, _Myotis velifer_ varies little; and the
variation that does occur is continuous. The change from the large, dark
Mexican subspecies to the small, pale Arizonan subspecies is gradual.
The reason may lie in the ecology of _M. velifer_. It seems that there
are few barriers separating populations. Waterless areas and regions
lacking suitable roosting places such as fissures in cliffs and outcrops
of rocks, caves and buildings, may exclude the species from certain
areas, but there are few areas of any great size within the range of
the species that lack these features. Also, these bats are strong
fliers; even between fairly distant colonies there may be considerable
gene flow. The geographic variation observed probably is the result of
adaptation, on the part of populations in different parts of the range
of the species, to different environments. The lack of any effective
barriers except possibly distance between populations tends to limit
subspeciation and to cause gradual variation between subspecies. _M. v.
peninsularis_, the subspecies at the southern tip of Baja California, is
not considered in this discussion. So far as known, however, that
subspecies is completely isolated from the mainland populations of _M.

     For the opportunity to examine specimens under their care I wish to
     thank Dr. William H. Burt of the University of Michigan Museum of
     Zoology, Dr. Rollin H. Baker of the Museum of Natural History of
     the University of Kansas, and Dr. Donald F. Hoffmeister of the
     University of Illinois Museum of Natural History. I am indebted
     also to persons in charge of the Biological Surveys Collection and
     the National Museum for the loan of critical material, and to Dr.
     E. Raymond Hall for suggestions. The following symbols are used to
     designate the source of specimens: BS--Biological Surveys
     Collection, IM--University of Illinois Museum of Natural History,
     KU--Museum of Natural History of the University of Kansas,
     MM--University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, NM--United States
     National Museum, TV--collection of Terry A. Vaughan.

     _Specimens examined._--Total, 110, distributed as follows:

     =Arizona=: _Mohave Co._: Big Sandy Creek, 3 BS. _Yavapai Co._: Camp
     Verde, 3 KU. _Gila Co._: 5 mi. SW Roosevelt, 8 BS. _Maricopa Co._:
     Gila Bend, 1 BS. _Graham Co._: Snow Flat, Graham Mountains, 1 IM;
     Bonita, Graham Mountains, 1 IM. _Pima Co._: Tucson, 1 NM; Madera
     Canyon, 5000 ft., Santa Rita Mountains, 2 KU. _Santa Cruz Co._:
     Madera Canyon, 6000 ft., Santa Rita Mountains, 2 KU. _Cochise Co._:
     8 mi. W Fort Huachuca, 26 IM; Hereford, 4 IM; 3 mi. SW Hereford, 1
     IM; 14 mi, SW Fort Huachuca, 1 IM; San Bernardino Ranch, 4 NM.

     =California=: _Riverside Co._: Riverside Mountains, 35 mi. N Blythe,
     51 (21 KU, 30 TV).

     =Sonora=: Santa Maria Mine, El Tigre Mountains, 1 MM.

     _Transmitted March 22, 1954._

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