Phylogeography, genetic structure, and diversity in the dhole (Cuon alpinus)

Authors

  • A. IYENGAR,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory for Conservation Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany,
    2. School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Bassett Crescent East, Southampton SO16 7PX, United Kingdom,
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  • V. N. BABU,

    1. Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India,
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  • S. HEDGES,

    1. Wildlife Conservation Society — International Programs, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, NY 10460, USA,
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  • A. B. VENKATARAMAN,

    1. Asian Elephant Research and Conservation Centre, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
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  • N. MACLEAN,

    1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Bassett Crescent East, Southampton SO16 7PX, United Kingdom,
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  • P. A. MORIN

    1. Laboratory for Conservation Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany,
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    • **

      Present address: Protected Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla CA 92037, USA.


Arati Iyengar, Fax: + 44 2380594459; E-mail: a.iyengar@soton.ac.uk.

Abstract

The Asiatic wild dog or dhole was once very widely distributed across Asia but now has a very fragmented range. In this first genetic study of this little-known species, we obtained information on genetic diversity, phylogeography, and social structure using both mitochondrial control region sequencing and microsatellite genotyping of noninvasive faecal samples from wild populations, as well as from museum and captive samples. A pattern largely consistent with isolation by distance across the Asian mainland was observed, with no clear subspecies distinctions. However, two major phylogeographical groupings were found across the mainland, one extending from South, Central, and North India (south of the Ganges) into Myanmar, and the other extending from India north of the Ganges into northeastern India, Myanmar, Thailand and the Malaysian Peninsula. We propose a scenario involving glaciation events that could explain this pattern. The origin of the dhole populations in Sumatra and Java is enigmatic and requires further study. Very low levels of genetic diversity were observed among wild dholes from Baluran National Park in Java, Indonesia, but in contrast, high levels were observed in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in South India.

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