• biogeography;
  • parsimony analysis of endemicity;
  • primates;
  • Amazonia;
  • Neotropical region;
  • South America;
  • distribution;
  • areas of endemism;
  • cladistic biogeography;
  • vicariance

The distributions of 51 non-human primate species are used for Parsimony Analysis of Endemicity (PAE) to determine the relationships among 14 interfluvial regions in the Amazon basin, South America. Two most parsimonious cladograms were found. The strict consensus tree of these cladograms suggests an early separation between Lower Amazonia (eastern) and Upper Amazonia (western). The major clusters of interfluvial regions identified in the PAE cladogram are congruent with the areas of endemism delimited for birds. When interfluvial regions are converted into avian areas of endemism, the PAE cladogram is congruent with one of the two general areas cladograms suggested for Amazonia based on phylogenies of several clades of forest birds. Our analysis suggests that PAE can be used as a tool to objectively identify areas of endemism at an intra-continental scale as well as to make historical inferences. However, the value of a PAE cladogram in this latter application should be always evaluated by congruence with area cladograms built upon cladistic biogeography procedures.