Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for March, 2011

In the previous article we looked at the majority of taxa included within the ‘plecotin’ group. As discussed therein, while there may be a clade of ‘core plecotins’, the traditional concept of the group might be paraphyletic. Some plecotins – Idionycteris in particular – might even be outside the clade that includes plecotins and all…

Yay, more vesper bats! The groups we’ve looked at so far have – in anatomical terms – been pretty conservative. This time round we’re looking at a really remarkable group; as is so often the case, their familiarity (relative to so many others of the world’s bats) means that we tend to forget or ignore…

One of the largest and most successful vesper bat clades is Myotis, the little brown bats or mouse-eared bats. As you can see from the simplified cladogram shown right down at the bottom of this article, recent work indicates that they form the sister-taxon to the remaining vespertilionine vesper bats (for more discussion of their…

Time to continue our trek across the vesper bat cladogram. In the previous article we looked at the bent-winged bats (or miniopterids, or miniopterines): a highly distinctive, morphologically novel group that seem to have diverged from vesper bats proper something like 45 million years ago. Their distinctive nature and long history of isolation relative to…

Welcome to part III of the vesper bat series though, as we’ll see, the bats I’m covering here are not really vesper bat at all (anymore, and in the strictest sense of the term ‘vesper bat’). They are the extremely strange, highly widespread long-winged bats, long-fingered bats or bent-winged bats (Miniopterus). Of these vernacular names,…

So, in the previous article we introduced vesper bats (sensu lato) as a whole, covered the idea that they’re pretty diverse in morphology and behaviour, and also looked quickly at where they seem to fit within the bat family tree as a whole. As you’d predict for a diverse group of over 400 species, there…

Bats are one of those groups of animals that I’ve come back to on several separate occasions, yet have never dealt with in satisfactory fashion (that is, comprehensively). Seeing as the group includes over 1110 living species, I hope that this is forgivable. But I have plans, and over the last few weeks a number…

Tet Zoo = back in business

Well, the whole ‘distributed denial of service’ thing has done a pretty effective job of keeping me away from Tet Zoo entirely. No chance to blog, and not even the chance to look at the site at all – so, wow, thanks for keeping the protobats discussion going (97 98 comments… not bad). While those…

Reconstructions of the earliest phases of bird evolution – of ‘near-birds’ or ‘protobirds’, if you will – are pretty familiar, and hypothetical ‘proto-pterosaurs’ are also relatively familiar thanks to their appearance in the mainstream literature (Wellnhofer 1991, Unwin 2006). However, have you ever seen a reconstruction of a proto-bat? Such creatures must have existed, of…

I don’t have time for anything at the moment, it’s terrible. So here’s this, from one of my talks on marine mammal diversity and evolution…