Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 863-876

Skull variation of the vampire bat Desmodus rotundus (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae): Taxonomic implications for the Cuban fossil vampire bat Desmodus puntajudensis

Orihuela, Johanset

The Cuban fossil vampire bats of the Neotropical genus Desmodus have been recently raised to specific rank. However, the dichotomous taxonomic history of the Cuban Desmodus fossils, plus the discovery of additional and more complete specimens prompted a reanalysis of the previous taxonomic arrangements. Here I document the range of skull variation in Desmodus rotundus geographical populations through a study of qualitative and quantitative osteological analysis to find the taxonomic affinity of the Cuban fossil Desmodus. It was found that the shape and size of D. rotundus skulls are widely variant, especially in the shape of the rostrum, palatal construction, zygomatic morphology, and occipital orientation; characters that have been often employed to separate the Cuban fossils from the extant form. This study demonstrates that the discrete morphology and measurements used to separate the Cuban fossils from the extant D. rotundus do not support the new taxonomic arrangement. The Cuban sample falls instead within the variation range observed in D. rotundus, implying that the fossil Desmodus sample from Cuba belong to the extant D. rotundus. Additionally, sexual dimorphism and minor geographical variation in the size of D. rotundus skulls was statistically supported. These results imply a probable revision of at least one of the fossil species (i.e., D. archaeodaptes), and support