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Title: First Complete Cytochrome B Sequences and Molecular Taxonomy of Bat Species from Sri Lanka
Authors: Perera, Thejanee
Schwarz, Franziska
Muzeniek, Therese
Siriwardana, Sahan
Becker-Ziaja, Beate
Perera, Inoka C.
Handunnetti, Shiroma
Weerasena, Jagathpriya
Premawansa, Gayani
Premawansa, Sunil
Nitsche, Andreas
Yapa, Wipula
Kohl, Claudia
Keywords: molecular identification of bats; bat phylogeny; Sri Lankan bats; molecular phylogeny; One Health; molecular taxonomy; cryptic species
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Animals, MDPI
Citation: Perera, T.; Schwarz, F.; Muzeniek, T.; Siriwardana, S.; Becker-Ziaja, B.; Perera, I.C.; Handunnetti, S.;Weerasena, J.; Premawansa, G.; Premawansa, S.; et al. First Complete Cytochrome B Sequences and Molecular Taxonomy of Bat Species from Sri Lanka. Animals 2022, 12, 1674. https://
Abstract: The aim of our study was to address the research gap in the molecular taxonomy of Sri Lankan bats. The accurate identification of animals plays a major role in observing them in their natural environments and hence understanding possible disease-transmitting pathways from animals to humans. Being a tropical country, Sri Lanka has a high density of animals. There are 30 different species of bats described in Sri Lanka. Until now, the animals have been identified by observing their physical features. However, the visual identification of animals is not accurate because closely related animal groups may show similar physical features. During our study, we accurately differentiated five bat groups living in one of the largest caves in Sri Lanka by using a more sophisticated laboratory technique. Using molecular techniques, we were able to provide more accurate results than by the visual identification of the bats. The results from our study are stored in the NCBI database as a baseline for a repository of Sri Lankan bats. With the new sequence data provided here, we filled the gap concerning the molecular taxonomy of bat species of the entire region and we contributed to the future conservation and systematic studies of these mammals. Abstract: This is the first report on the molecular identification and phylogeny of the Rousettus leschenaultii Desmarest, 1810, Rhinolophus rouxii Temminck, 1835, Hipposideros speoris Schneider, 1800, Hipposideros lankadiva Kelaart, 1850, and Miniopterus fuliginosus Kuhl, 1817, bat species in Sri Lanka, inferred from analyses by mitochondrially encoded cytochrome b gene sequences. Recent research has indicated that bats show enormous cryptic genetic diversity. Moreover, even within the same species, the acoustic properties of echolocation calls and morphological features such as fur color could vary in different populations. Therefore, we have used molecular taxonomy for the accurate identification of five bat species recorded in one of the largest cave populations in Sri Lanka. The bats were caught using a hand net, and saliva samples were collected non-invasively from each bat by using a sterile oral swab. Nucleic acids were extracted from the oral swab samples, and mitochondrial DNA was amplified by using primers targeting the mitochondrially encoded cytochrome b gene. This study reports the first molecular evidence for the identification of five bat species in Sri Lanka. Our findings will contribute to future conservation and systematic studies of bats in Sri Lanka. This study will also provide the basis for a genetic database of Sri Lankan bats which will contribute significantly to the investigation of potentially zoonotic bat viruses.
URI: https://
Appears in Collections:Department of Zoology

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