Genetic population structure in the yellow mongoose, Cynictis penicillata


T. J. Robinson Tel.:+27-12-420-2608; Fax: +27-12-342-3136; E-mail:


Phylogeographic structure was determined for the yellow mongoose, Cynictis penicillata, using mtDNA RFLPs and control region sequences. The RFLP analysis revealed 13 haplotypes which showed weak geographical patterning consistent with a recent range expansion from a refugial population(s). An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed no correspondence between mtDNA phylogeography and subspecies delimitation, nor between matrilines and areas characterized by a high incidence of the viverrid-type rabies, of which the yellow mongoose is the principal vector. The lack of structure was also shown by control region sequences although four of the maternal lineages shared a near-perfect 81 bp repeat. We speculate that regional hot spots of the viverrid rabies biotype reflect population density differences in the yellow mongoose that are not underscored by genetic partitioning, at least at the level of resolution provided by our analyses.