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Open Access Research article

Two new cytotypes reinforce that Micronycteris hirsuta Peters, 1869 does not represent a monotypic taxon

Talita FA Ribas1, Luis RR Rodrigues2, Cleusa Y Nagamachi13, Anderson JB Gomes1, Thayse CM Benathar1, Patricia CM O’Brien4, Fengtang Yang5, Malcolm A Ferguson-Smith4 and Julio C Pieczarka13*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Citogenética, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Campus do Guamá, Av. Perimetral, sn. Guamá, Belém, Pará, 66075–900, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Genética e Biodiversidade, ICED, Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará, Santarém, Brazil

3 CNPQ Researcher, Belém, Brazil

4 Cambridge Resource Centre for Comparative Genomics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

5 Cytogenetics Facility, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK

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BMC Genetics 2013, 14:119  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-119

Published: 20 December 2013



The genus Micronycteris is a diverse group of phyllostomid bats currently comprising 11 species, with diploid number (2n) ranging from 26 to 40 chromosomes. The karyotypic relationships within Micronycteris and between Micronycteris and other phyllostomids remain poorly understood. The karyotype of Micronycteris hirsuta is of particular interest: three different diploid numbers were reported for this species in South and Central Americas with 2n = 26, 28 and 30 chromosomes. Although current evidence suggests some geographic differentiation among populations of M. hirsuta based on chromosomal, morphological, and nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, the recognition of new species or subspecies has been avoided due to the need for additional data, mainly chromosomal data.


We describe two new cytotypes for Micronycteris hirsuta (MHI) (2n = 26 and 25, NF = 32), whose differences in diploid number are interpreted as the products of Robertsonian rearrangements. C-banding revealed a small amount of constitutive heterochromatin at the centromere and the NOR was located in the interstitial portion of the short arm of a second pair, confirmed by FISH. Telomeric probes hybridized to the centromeric regions and weakly to telomeric regions of most chromosomes. The G-banding analysis and chromosome painting with whole chromosome probes from Carollia brevicauda (CBR) and Phyllostomus hastatus (PHA) enabled the establishment of genome-wide homologies between MHI, CBR and PHA.


The karyotypes of Brazilian specimens of Micronycteris hirsuta described here are new to Micronycteris and reinforce that M. hirsuta does not represent a monotypic taxon. Our results corroborate the hypothesis of karyotypic megaevolution within Micronycteris, and strong evidence for this is that the entire chromosome complement of M. hirsuta was shown to be derivative with respect to species compared in this study.