Morphological and molecular variation in Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townseendii) in West Texas
Previous studies of Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) from Big Bend National Park (Brewster Co.) have been limited and inconclusive regarding the expected subspecific identity of specimens from this region. Furthermore, we observed that several specimens of from this region displayed morphological characteristics of both the Mexican big-eared bat (C. mexicanus) and C. townsendii. Thus, the goals of this study were to use molecular data to determine the specific and subspecific affinity of the specimens found in this region and to illuminate possible morphological variation within the molecular lineages recovered in West Texas specimens. Based on molecular analyses there was support for the presence of a single subspecies, C. t. australis, throughout West Texas. Evaluation of morphological data from these same specimens showed that no discrete characteristics were accurate in delineating C. townsendii from C. mexicanus, confirming substantial morphological variation within C. t. australis specimens from West Texas.