Landscape genetics of an endangered lemur (Propithecus tattersalli) within its entire fragmented range


E. Quéméré, Fax: (+33) 561 557 327; E-mail: and L. Chikhi, Fax: (+33) 561 557 327; E-mail:


Habitat fragmentation may strongly reduce individuals’ dispersal among resource patches and hence influence population distribution and persistence. We studied the impact of landscape heterogeneity on the dispersal of the golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli), an endangered social lemur species living in a restricted and highly fragmented landscape. We combined spatial analysis and population genetics methods to describe population units and identify the environmental factors which best predict the rates and patterns of genetic differentiation within and between populations. We used non-invasive methods to genotype 230 individuals at 13 microsatellites in all the main forest fragments of its entire distribution area. Our analyses suggest that the Manankolana River and geographical distance are the primary structuring factors, while a national road crossing the region does not seem to impede gene flow. Altogether, our results are in agreement with a limited influence of forest habitat connectivity on gene flow patterns (except for North of the species’ range), suggesting that dispersal is still possible today among most forest patches for this species. Within forest patches, we find that dispersal is mainly among neighbouring social groups, hence confirming previous behavioural observations.