Speciation dynamics during the global radiation of extant bats

Jeff J. Shi, Daniel L. Rabosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


Species richness varies widely across extant clades, but the causes of this variation remain poorly understood. We investigate the role of diversification rate heterogeneity in shaping patterns of diversity across families of extant bats. To provide a robust framework for macroevolutionary inference, we assemble a time-calibrated, species-level phylogeny using a supermatrix of mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. We analyze the phylogeny using a Bayesian method for modeling complex evolutionary dynamics. Surprisingly, we find that variation in family richness can largely be explained without invoking heterogeneous diversification dynamics. We document only a single well-supported shift in diversification dynamics across bats, occurring at the base of the subfamily Stenodermatinae. Bat diversity is phylogenetically imbalanced, but-contrary to previous hypotheses-this pattern is unexplained by any simple patterns of diversification rate heterogeneity. This discordance may indicate that diversification dynamics are more complex than can be captured using the statistical tools available for modeling data at this scale. We infer that bats as a whole are almost entirely united into one macroevolutionary cohort, with decelerating speciation through time. There is also a significant relationship between clade age and richness, suggesting that global bat diversity may still be expanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1528-1545
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.


  • BAMM
  • Chiroptera
  • Diversification rates
  • Macroevolution
  • Phylogenetic imbalance


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