Three species of otter can be found throughout Malay Peninsula: Aonyx cinereus, Lutra sumatrana, and Lutrogale perspicillata. In this study, we focused on the A. cinereus population that ranges from the southern and the east coast to the northern regions of Malay Peninsula up to southern Thailand to review the relationships between the populations based on the mitochondrial D-loop region. Forty-eight samples from six populations were recognized as Johor, Perak, Terengganu, Kelantan, Ranong, and Thale Noi. Among the 48 samples, 33 were identified as A. cinereus, seven as L. sumatrana, and eight as L. perspicillata. Phylogenetically, two subclades formed for A. cinereus. The first subclade grouped all Malay Peninsula samples except for samples from Kelantan, and the second subclade grouped Kelantan samples with Thai sample. Genetic distance analysis supported the close relationships between Thai and Kelantan samples compared to the samples from Terengganu and the other Malaysian states. A minimum-spanning network showed that Kelantan and Thailand formed a haplogroup distinct from the other populations. Our results show that Thai subspecies A. cinereus may have migrated to Kelantan from Thai mainland. We also suggest the classification of a new subspecies from Malay Peninsula, the small-clawed otter named A. cinereus kecilensis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Environmental Science(all)