Rhinolophus gorongosae, GORONGOSAE

Taylor, Peter J., Macdonald, Angus, Goodman, Steven M., Kearney, Teresa, Cotterill, Fenton P. D., Stoffberg, Sam, Monadjem, Ara, Schoeman, M. Corrie, Guyton, Jennifer, Naskrecki, Pitor & Richards, Leigh R., 2018, Integrative taxonomy resolves three new cryptic species of small southern African horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 184, pp. 1249-1276: 1262-1265

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Rhinolophus gorongosae




Holotype: Durban Natural Science Museum (DM) No. 14820 (field number JAG196), is an adult male, preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol, originally part of series of specimens collected by J. A. Guyton on 25 April 2015. The cranium and baculum has been extracted and examined for this study. The specimen has been included in both morphometric analyses.

Type locality: Bunga Inselberg, Gorongosa National Park, Sofala Province, Mozambique − 18.599° S, 34.343° E, 212 m.


Paratypes: Eight specimens collected 24–25 April 2015 ( DM 14815–14819),   2 May 2015 ( DM 14828),   5 November 2015 ( DM 14843)   and 22 July 2015 ( DM 14865).  

Referred specimens having molecular identification: DM 14815 ( JAG 188) a female specimen collected by J. A. Guyton from Mozambique, Sofala Province, Gorongosa National Park, Bunga Inselberg , - 18.599° S, 34.343° E, 212 m; GoogleMaps   DM 14843 ( JAG 228) a female specimen collected by J. A. Guyton from Mozambique, Sofala Province, Gorongosa National Park, - 18.694° S, 34.208° E, 308 m. GoogleMaps  

Referred specimens having only morphological identification: TMSA 49116 ( JAG 31), adult male, collected on 21 April 2013 by J. A. Guyton from Mozambique, Sofala Province, Gorongosa National Park, Cheringoma Plateau , Gorge Rim , Site 1, - 18.635° S, 34.808° E, 213 m. GoogleMaps   Incertae   sedis: DM 14864 adult female collected by J. A. Guyton on 21 July 2015 from Mozambique, Sofala Province, Gorongosa National Park, - 18.465° S, 34.052° E, 1150 m GoogleMaps   ; DM 11482, adult female collected on 1 May 2009 by J. Bayliss from Mozambique, Nampula Province, Mount Inago Forest Camp , - 15.045° S, 37.396° E 1478 m. GoogleMaps  

Etymology: The species derives its name from the Gorongosa district of Mozambique, in particular Gorongosa National Park, a biologically diverse region of southern Africa.

Diagnosis: The species can be clearly distinguished from both R. swinnyi   s.s. and R. rhodesiae   on molecular grounds ( Figs 2 View Figure 2 , 3 View Figure 3 ) as well as by its smaller size ( Fig. 4 View Figure 4 ; Table 2 View Table 2 ), distinct cranial shape ( Figs 5 View Figure 5 , 6 View Figure 6 ), echolocation call peakfrequency ( Table 2 View Table 2 ), baculum ( Figs 7 View Figure 7 , 8 View Figure 8 ) and noseleaf ( Figs 9 View Figure 9 , 12 View Figure 12 ) characteristics. Although some measurements overlap, there is minimal overlap in condylocanine skull length and zygomatic skull width between this species (14.8–15.2 mm; 8.13–8.56 mm) and R. swinnyi   (14.3–16.0 mm; 8.7–9.2 mm) and R. rhodesiae   (15.1–15.7; 8.46–8.96 mm). The small size of this form makes it even smaller than denti   (regarded by Csorba et al., 2003 as the smallest species in the Ethiopian region), therefore making this new species Africa’s smallest horseshoe bat. Comparing means for R. gorongosae   sp. nov. ( Table 2 View Table 2 ) and denti ( Monadjem et al., 2010)   : forearm 41.3 mm cf. 43.1 mm; mass 5.6 g cf. 7.0 g.

Description: The genetically-distinct R. gorongosae   sp. nov. is similar in pelage colour but distinctly smaller in external (mean total length 68 mm, mean forearm length = 41 mm) and cranial (mean condylocanine length 15.1 mm) measurements ( Table 2 View Table 2 ) than both rhodesiae   (mean totallength 75 mm, forearmlength 44 mm, condyolocanine length 15.4 mm) and swinnyi   s.s. from South Africa (mean totallength 73 mm, forearm length 44 mm, condyolocanine length 15.4 mm). Based on geometric morphometric results, the diminutive R. gorongosae   sp. nov. has a reduced foramen magnum, a noticeable depression along the parietal region, low set bullae, a narrow braincase and a narrow and high set nasal inflation with a sharp slope from the nasal inflation to the maxillae ( Fig. 6 View Figure 6 ). Lancet is subtriangular with straight to slightly concave sides, and a high, rounded connecting process; the sella has a diminutive, pointed tip ( Fig. 12 View Figure 12 ). Baculum short with reduced base, with a characteristic notch on one side of the shaft tip (position variable). The slightly narrower baculum shaft with narrower tip distinguishes R. gorongosae   sp. nov. from R. swinnyi   ( Table 5 View Table 5 ; Figs 7 View Figure 7 , 8 View Figure 8 ). Maxillary toothrow with minute and laterally displaced PM 1 with a distinct gap between the alveolar borders of canine and PM 2 ( Fig. 10 View Figure 10 ). Mean peak echolocation CF frequency is 106 kHz (104–108 kHz; Table 2 View Table 2 ).

Distribution and biology: So far, it appears that this tiny species is restricted in its distribution to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique ( Fig. 11 View Figure 11 ), although we provisionally refer a very small adult individual from Mount Inago in Mozambique to this taxon. Molecular sequences are required from a wider range of localities to determine the range of this taxon. Given that the two individuals sequenced from Gorongosa National Park were distinct from each other, the possibility exists that more than one cryptic species may be present.