Molecular systematics and biogeography of the Hemigalinae civets (Mammalia, Carnivora)

Géraldine Veron, Céline Bonillo, Alexandre Hassanin, Andrew P. Jennings


Due to the difficulty in obtaining samples, the systematics of the Hemigalinae civets has not been fully resolved. The aim of this study was to clarify the relationships of the species and the intraspecific diversity within this subfamily, and to explore the environmental factors that might have affected its evolution. Using two mitochondrial and two nuclear markers, we confirmed that the Hemigalinae comprises Owston’s civet, the otter civet, Hose’s civet and the banded civet, but also the Sulawesi palm civet (formerly included in the Paradoxurinae). Our study showed that the banded and Owston’s civets are sister species, and suggested that Hose’s civet is sister to these two. Within the banded civet, we observed a high divergence between individuals from the Mentawai Islands and those from Sumatra and Borneo (while the latter two were not strongly divergent), likely due to the deep sea channel between the Mentawai Islands and Sumatra. Unexpectedly, the Sumatran and Peninsular Malaysian individuals were not closely related, despite the fact that these two regions have repeatedly been connected during the last glaciations. No high polymorphism was found within Owston’s civet, although three groups were obtained: southern China, northern Vietnam and central Vietnam, which might be related to Pleistocene climatic fluctuations.


Southeast Asia; phylogeography; civets; Viverridae; molecular systematics

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