Phylogeographic and conservation genetic analysis of the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger)

Authors

  • William Rangel Vasconcelos,

    1. Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de Evolução e Genética Animal, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus, AM, Brazil
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  • Tomas Hrbek,

    1. Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de Evolução e Genética Animal, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus, AM, Brazil
    2. Biology Department, University of Puerto Rico—Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
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  • Ronis Da Silveira,

    1. Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus, AM, Brazil
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  • Benoit De Thoisy,

    1. Association Kwata, Cayenne Cedex, French Guiana
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  • Luis Augusto Araújo dos Santos Ruffeil,

    1. Coord. Biologia, Fundação Universidade Estadual Vale do Acaraú, Belém, PA, Brazil
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  • Izeni Pires Farias

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de Evolução e Genética Animal, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus, AM, Brazil
    • Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de Evolução e Genética Animal, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), Mini Campus ICB, Av. Gen. Rodrigo Octávio Jordão Ramos, 3000-Coroado, 69077-000 Manaus, AM, Brazil
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Abstract

We assessed the spatial distribution of the genetic variability of Melanosuchus niger from 11 localities in South America using 1,027 base pairs of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Screening 132 animals, we found 41 haplotypes, high values of genetic diversity, low values of nucleotide diversity and significant deviations from neutral expectation of allelic frequencies in some localities. Mantel test and nested-clade analysis indicated that isolation-by-distance was an important population dynamic for the species as a whole. Wright's fixation indexes analyses showed that hydrogeographically separated populations from French Guiana together with Amapá state population in Brazil are genetically differentiated from all other populations that are found in the Amazon drainage basin. These indexes also disclosed that the population from Ecuador is genetically differentiated in relation to the populations from Brazil, Peru and French Guiana. Within the Amazon Basin little differentiation exists, and genetic and geographic distances are not correlated. Demographic data as well as population genetic data suggest that M. niger is recovering in some protected regions. However, part of this apparent recovery may be owing to the movement of animals into protected regions. J. Exp. Zool. 309A:600–613, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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