Tuesday, November 18, 2014

[Mammalogy • 2014] How Many Species of Paradoxurus Civets are there? New Insights from India and Sri Lanka

Paradoxurus m. musangus
Male relaxing on a thick liana at Sungei Relau, Taman Negara, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia | photo: EcologyAsia.com

Using molecular data and morphological features, we investigated the species limits and genetic diversity among populations of the Asian palm civets of the genus Paradoxurus. Our main objectives were to determine the number of species within Paradoxurus hermaphroditus and to test the validity of the newly proposed species within Paradoxurus zeylonensis. Fragments of two mitochondrial (Cytochrome b, Control Region) and one nuclear (intron 7 of the beta fibrinogen) markers were sequenced from 128 individuals of P. hermaphroditus, P. zeylonensis and Paradoxurus jerdoni. DNA sequences were analysed using phylogenetic and haplotype network methods. 

Our analyses confirmed that P. hermaphroditus comprises three major clades, which should be recognized as separate species: Paradoxurus hermaphroditus (Indian and Indochinese regions), Paradoxurus musangus (mainland Southeast Asia, Sumatra, Java and other small Indonesian islands) and Paradoxurus philippinensis (Mentawai Islands, Borneo and the Philippines). Furthermore, we have proposed that there are two subspecies within both P. musangus and P. philippinensis, and there might be at least two or three subspecies within P. hermaphroditus. We found a very low genetic diversity and no geographical structure within P. zeylonensis and did not find any support for splitting P. zeylonensis into several species nor subspecies. Finally, we confirmed that P. jerdoni and P. zeylonensis are sister species.

Keywords: Asia; taxonomy; palm civets; Paradoxurus; Viverridae; Molecular systematics

Paradoxurus m. musangus 'Toddy Cat' from MacRitchie forest, Singapore
photo: Francis Yap | BESGroup.org

Paradoxurus m. musangus from  Singapore Botanic Garden
photo: Chung Yi Fei KampungLife.wordpress.com

Géraldine Veron, Marie-Lilith Patou, Mária Tóth, Manori Goonatilake and Andrew P. Jennings. 2014. How Many Species of Paradoxurus Civets are there? New Insights from India and Sri Lanka. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 1-14. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1111/jzs.12085.

 The common palm civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, has been split into three species by a recent study (Veron et al., 2014). The name Paradoxurus hermaphroditus is restricted to the populations in India, southern China and Indo-china (henceforth as Indian palm civet). The form in Singapore, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Java is Paradoxurus musangus (Sumatran palm civet), named by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1821 as Viverra musanga based on animals from Sumatra. Those in Borneo and the Philippines are Paradoxurus philippinensis (Philippine palm civet)

Marcus A. H. Chua & Fung Tze Kwan. 2014. Sumatran palm civet at Grange Road. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2014http://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/images/pdfs/sbr/2014/sbr2014-295.pdf