Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Mammalogy • 2014] Distribution of the Malay Civet Viverra tangalunga (Carnivora: Viverridae) across Southeast Asia: Natural or Human-mediated Dispersal?

Malay civet Viverra tangalunga
photo croix.gagnon  flic.kr/p/7N5HJw

The Malay civet Viverra tangalunga Gray, 1832 is a fairly large viverrid that has a wide distribution in both the Sundaic and Wallacea regions of Southeast Asia. We investigated the genetic diversity of V. tangalunga by analysing the mitochondrial DNA of 81 individuals throughout its range in order to elucidate the evolutionary history of this species and to test the hypotheses of natural dispersal and/or potential human introductions to some islands and regions. Our phylogenetic analyses revealed that V. tangalunga has a low matrilinear genetic diversity and is poorly structured geographically. Borneo is likely to have served as the ancestral population source from which animals dispersed during the Pleistocene. Viverra tangalunga could have naturally dispersed to Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Belitung, and also to several other Sunda Islands (Bangka, Lingga, and Bintang in the Rhio Archipelago), and to Palawan, although there is possible evidence that humans introduced V. tangalunga to the latter islands. Our results strongly suggested that V. tangalunga was transported by humans across Wallace's Line to Sulawesi and the Moluccas, but also to the Philippines and the Natuna Islands. Our study has shown that human-mediated dispersal can be an important factor in understanding the distribution of some species in this region.  

Keywords: biogeography; Carnivora; human introduction; phylogeography; Southeast Asia; Sunda Shelf

Viverra tangalunga from Borneo, Sabah
photo: Kalyan Varma commons.wikimedia.org

Malay Civet Viverra tangalunga photographed by a camera trap at night
Gunung Palung Natioanl Park, West Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia.
photo: Tim Laman

Geraldine Veron, Maraike Willsch, Victor Dacosta, Marie-Lilith Patou, Adrian Seymour, Celine Bonillo, Arnaud Couloux, Siew Te Wong, Andrew P. Jennings, Jörns Fickel and Andreas Wilting. 2014. The Distribution of the Malay Civet Viverra tangalunga (Carnivora: Viverridae) across Southeast Asia: Natural or Human-mediated Dispersal? Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 170(4); 917–932