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A molecular link between the bats of New Zealand and South America

Abstract

Along with the kiwis (Apteryx), tuatara (Sphenodon) and leiopel-matid frogs, the now rare lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuber-culata), one of only two species1,2 in the endemic family Mys-tacinidae, has long been viewed as one of New Zealand's archaic, mystery vertebrates, and has presented taxonomists with a major puzzle since its first description in 1843 (ref. 3). We report here the results of immunological comparisons involving the albumin and transferrin of Mystacina which indicate that its closest phylogenetic affinities are with the New World phyllostomoids—noctilionids, mormoopids and phyllostomids. We estimate the separation between the Noctilw and Mystacina lineages to have occurred about 35 Myr ago.

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