How many genera and species of woolly monkeys (Atelidae, Platyrrhine, Primates) are there? The first molecular analysis of Lagothrix flavicauda, an endemic Peruvian primate species

Manuel Ruiz-García, Myreya Pinedo-Castro, Joseph Mark Shostell

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    21 Scopus citations


    We sequenced COI and COII mitochondrial genes of 141 Neotropical woolly monkeys to provide new insights concerning their phylogeography and phylogenetic relationships. For the first time, eight individuals of the endemic and extremely rare Peruvian yellow-tailed woolly monkey (flavicauda) were sequenced at these genes and compared with other Lagothrix taxa (poeppigii, lagotricha, lugens and cana). There were four main results. (1) L. flavicauda showed a gene diversity of zero, whereas poeppigii and lugens showed high levels of gene diversity and lagotricha and cana showed more modest levels of gene diversity. The absence of gene diversity found for L. flavicauda strongly supports that it is one of the 25 more endangered primates on earth; (2) Our genetic distance and phylogenetic analyses, which included many cases of genetic introgression and recent hybridization, suggest that all woolly monkeys could be included in one unique genus, Lagotrix, divided into two species: L. flavicauda and L. lagotricha. The last species is divided into at least four subspecies. Our molecular results agree with Fooden's (1963) classification, but do not support the classification proposed by Groves (2001). (3) Poeppigii was the first taxon within L. lagotricha to experience a mitochondrial haplotype diversification, while cana and lagotricha experienced more recent mitochondrial haplotype diversification; (4) Poeppigii and lagotricha were the taxa which showed the greatest evidence of population expansions in different Pleistocene periods, whereas lugens experienced a population declination in the last 25,000 YA.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)179-198
    Number of pages20
    JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Oct 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Thanks go to Dr. Diana Alvarez, Pablo Escobar-Armel, Luisa Fernanda Castellanos-Mora, Dr. Clara Saldamando, Dr. Sara Bennett and Nicolás Lichilín for their respective help in obtaining years. The sampling procedures complied with all the protocols approved by the Ethics Committee of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (No. 45684) and the laws of the Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial (R 1256) from Colombia. This research adhered to the stipulations set by the American Society of Primatologists. Many thanks go to the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (Oficio No 5677), to the PRODUCE (Oficio No 5225), from Peru, the Consejo Nacional del Ambiente and the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA, Peru), to CITES (permissions 01482, 01483, 01484, 01737, 01738, 01739, 01740, 01741), permissions from the Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible y Planificación (Viceministerio de Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente, Dirección general de Biodiversidad). DGB/UVS No. 477707 and to the Ministerio del Ambiente (permission HJK-9788) in Coca (Ecuador) for their role in facilitating the obtainment of the collection permits in Peru and Ecuador. Also many thanks to the Brazilian institutions for collaborating with this study (IBAMA protocol number 77933) and to the Instituto von Humboldt in Villa de Leyva (Colombia) for their role in facilitating the obtainment of samples in Brazil and Colombia. The first author also thanks the Ticuna, Yucuna, Yaguas, Witoto and Cocama Indian communities in the Colombian Amazon, the Bora, Ocaina, Shipibo-Comibo, Capanahua, Angoteros, Orejón, Yaguas, Cocama, Kishuarana and Alama in the Peruvian Amazon, the Kichwa, Huaorani, Shuar, and Achuar in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Marubos, Kulina, Maku and Waimiri-Atroari communities in the Brazilian Amazon. Many of these Indian communities gave write permissions to the first author to collect the material herein studied. These permissions could be requested to the first author. Lagothrix samples during the last 16


    • Flavicauda
    • Gene diversity
    • Lagothrix
    • Mitochondrial COI and COII genes
    • Phylogenetic trees
    • Species concepts


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