Phylogenetic relationships of the cuscuses (Diprotodontia : Phalangeridae) of island Southeast Asia and Melanesia based on the mitochondrial ND2 gene [IN PRESS]

Shimona Kealy, Stephen C. Donnellan, Kieren J. Mitchell, Michael B Herrera, Kenneth Aplin, Susan O'Connor, Julien Louys

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The species-level systematics of the marsupial family Phalangeridae, particularly Phalanger, are poorly understood, due partly to the family's wide distribution across Australia, New Guinea, eastern Indonesia, and surrounding islands. In order to refine the species-level systematics of Phalangeridae, and improve our understanding of their evolution, we generated 36 mitochondrial ND2 DNA sequences from multiple species and sample localities. We combined our new data with available sequences and produced the most comprehensive molecular phylogeny for Phalangeridae to date. Our analyses (1) strongly support the monophyly of the three phalangerid subfamilies (Trichosurinae, Ailuropinae, Phalangerinae); (2) reveal the need to re-examine all specimens currently identified as 'Phalanger orientalis'; and (3) suggest the elevation of the Solomon Island P. orientalis subspecies to species level (P. brevicepsThomas, 1888). In addition, samples of P. orientalis from Timor formed a clade, consistent with an introduction by humans from a single source population. However, further research on east Indonesian P. orientalis populations will be required to test this hypothesis, resolve inconsistencies in divergence time estimates, and locate the source population and taxonomic status of the Timor P. orientalis.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAustralian Mammalogy
    VolumeOnline
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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