Genetic patterns in forest antelope populations in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania, as inferred from non-invasive sampling
As for many tropical regions, the evolutionary and demographic status of antelope populations in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania, are poorly resolved. We employed genetic information from 618 faecal samples to assess the status of forest antelope species in terms of their distribution, intraspecific diversity and population subdivision within the Udzungwa landscape. Most species were detected in the majority of forest fragments, except for Philantomba monticola. Phylogenetic analyses were consistent with traditional taxonomy with the exception of Cephalophus harveyi which was paraphyletic with respect to C. natalensis. There was strong support for three C. harveyi mtDNA clades within the Udzungwa Mountains although nuclear genetic variation did not partition strongly with these maternal lineages. Significant partitioning of genetic variation between sampling areas was detected for all species except the endangered C. spadix. Overall, our results demonstrate the value of non-invasive genetic sampling in studying the distribution and evolution of rarely observed species.
Keywords: duikers, suni, Harvey’s duiker, Eastern Arc Mountains, East Africa