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Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation within the remnant populations of the endangered numbat (Marsupialia: Myrmecobiidae: Myrmecobius fasciatus)


L. Fumagalli, Institut d’Ecologie, Laboratoire de Zoologie et d’Ecologie Animale, Bâtiment de Biologie, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 21 692 41 65;


The numbat has been reduced to two populations in Western Australia. To better understand the effects of range reduction on gene flow and genetic variation, and to address questions crucial for the species’ management, we analysed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of free-ranging individuals and museum specimens. The results suggest recent connectivity between the remnant populations, although one of those may have lost significant amounts of genetic diversity during the recent population size reduction. We propose that for management purposes the remnant populations should be treated as a single historical lineage and that, subject to certain caveats, consideration should be given to population augmentation by translocation.