Population genetic structure of the thick-tailed bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus) from the Soutpansberg Mountain range, Northern South Africa, based on four mitochondrial DNA regions

Metlholo Andries Phukuntsi, Morne Du Plessis, Desiré Lee Dalton, Raymond Jansen, Frank P. Cuozzo, Michelle L. Sauther, Antoinette Kotze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Greater bushbabies, strepsirrhine primates, that are distributed across central, eastern and southern Africa, with northern and eastern South Africa representing the species’ most southerly distribution. Greater bushbabies are habitat specialists whose naturally fragmented habitats are getting even more fragmented due to anthropogenic activities. Currently, there is no population genetic data or study published on the species. The aim of our study was to investigate the genetic variation in a thick-tailed bushbaby, Otolemur crassicaudatus, population in the Soutpansberg mountain range, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Four mitochondrial regions, ranging from highly conserved to highly variable, were sequenced from 47 individuals. The sequences were aligned and genetic diversity, structure, as well as demographic analyses were performed. Low genetic diversity (π = 0.0007–0.0038 in coding regions and π = 0.0127 in non-coding region; Hd = 0.166–0.569 in coding regions and Hd = 0.584 in non-coding region) and sub-structuring (H = 2–3 in coding regions and H = 4 in non-coding region) was observed with two divergent haplogroups (haplotype pairwise distance = 3–5 in coding region and 6–10 in non-coding region) being identified. This suggests the population may have experienced fixation of mitochondrial haplotypes due to limited female immigration, which is consistent with philopatric species, that alternative haplotypes are not native to this population, and that there may be male mobility from adjacent populations. This study provides the first detailed insights into the mitochondrial genetic diversity of a continental African strepsirrhine primate and demonstrates the utility of mitochondrial DNA in intraspecific genetic population analyses of these primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalMitochondrial DNA Part A: DNA Mapping, Sequencing, and Analysis
Issue number1
Early online date25 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
for this project was provided by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, the United States National Science Foundation (BCS 1638833), the University of Colorado-Boulder (USA), and the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. We thank Dr. Ian Gaigher, Birthe (Bibi) Linden, and Jabu Linden for facilitating on-going research at the Lajuma Research Centre. We thank Dr. Adrian SW Tordiffe and the NZG and University of Pretoria veterinary techs and students for their assistance with sample collection. This work received approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the University of Colorado-Boulder, USA, as well as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), South Africa.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


Dive into the research topics of 'Population genetic structure of the thick-tailed bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus) from the Soutpansberg Mountain range, Northern South Africa, based on four mitochondrial DNA regions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this