Revista Brasileira de Zoologia
versão impressa ISSN 0101-8175
RUI, Ana Maria e DREHMER, César Jaeger. Anomalies and variation in the dental formula of bats of the genus Artibeus Leach (Chiroptera, Phyllostomidae). Rev. Bras. Zool. [online]. 2004, vol.21, n.3, pp. 639-648. ISSN 0101-8175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-81752004000300026.
This paper describes and analyzes the causes of dental formula anomalies in the bats Artibeus lituratus (Olfers, 1818) and Artibeus fimbriatus Gray, 1838 (Phyllostomidae) belonging to populations inhabiting the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Based on material examined and descriptions reported in the literature, is presented a general discussion on variation in the presence or absence of the third superior and inferior molars within members of the genus Artibeus (Leach, 1821). Of the 104 A. lituratus skulls examined was found one with an extra upper incisor and one with an extra upper right third molar, along with one case of lower third molar agenesis. In the 44 A. fimbriatus skulls examined was found one with an extra upper right second premolar, a tooth which is usually absent in this species. The occurrence of the extra molar in A. lituratus and the second premolar in A. fimbriatus are atavistic, probably reflecting the ancestral A. lituratus in the case of the extra molar and, for the premolar, an even more ancient ancestor which lived before the divergence of the Phyllostomidae family. Regarding the genus as a whole, there is variation in the presence or absence of the third superior molar in practically all Artibeus species, such variation occurring at both the intrapopulational level and geographically. There is also already a low frequency of absent third inferior molars in various Artibeus species. Both superior and inferior third molars are in the process of exclusion from the dentition of Artibeus and do not occur in some species, and, when present, are always reduced in size and extremely simplified in their cuspidal pattern and do not participate in food processing: indicating a clear evolutionary trend to the loss of these teeth. Such variation is important because variability in the presence and absence of third molars means that these teeth are not appropriate characteristic for the identification of Artibeus species.
Palavras-chave : Agenesis; Artibeus fimbriatus; Artibeus lituratus; atavism; polymorphism.