New insights into samango monkey speciation in South Africa
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The samango monkey is South Africa's only exclusively forest dwelling primate and represents the southernmost extent of the range of arboreal guenons in Africa. The main threats to South Africa's forests and thus to the samango are linked to increasing land-use pressure and increasing demands for forest resources, resulting in deforestation, degradation and further fragmentation of irreplaceable habitats. The species belongs to the highly polytypic Cercopithecus nictitans group which is sometimes divided into two species C. mitis and C. albogularis. The number of subspecies of C. albogularis is also under debate and is based only on differences in pelage colouration and thus far no genetic research has been undertaken on South African samango monkey populations. In this study we aim to further clarify the number of samango monkey subspecies, as well as their respective distributions in South Africa by combining molecular, morphometric and pelage data. Overall, our study provides the most comprehensive view to date into the taxonomic description of samango monkeys in South Africa. Our data supports the identification of three distinct genetic entities namely; C. a. labiatus, C. a. erythrarchus and C. a. schwarzi and argues for separate conservation management of the distinct genetic entities defined by this study.
- RESEARCH: Taylor, P