This study investigated the current distribution of otters (Lutrinae) in all states of Peninsular Malaysia. Four species of otters have been recorded in Peninsular Malaysia in the past based on field survey methodology, namely the Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana), and Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). This study aims to determine the current number of otter species and their distribution in Peninsular Malaysia through molecular approaches using D-loop and Cyt b loci of mitochondrial DNA sequences. Our findings indicate that 337 samples were identified as three species of otter that are currently distributed in Peninsular Malaysia: A. cinereus (112 samples), L. perspicillata (218 samples), and L. sumatrana (7 samples). All three species can be found in Perak, Kelantan, Pahang, Selangor, and Johor while other states only contained two species (A. cinereus and L. perspicillata). Seven sympatric locations were recorded between two or three species: Tumpat and Kg. Padang Salim (Kelantan), Penarik and Sg. Kemaman (Terengganu), Taman Negara (Pahang), Tg. Piai (Johor), and Kuala Gula (Perak). The discovery of L. sumatrana in this study has confirmed that this species is still present in Peninsular Malaysia. However, L. lutra was not observed in this study. Our findings successfully highlight the diversity and distribution of Peninsular Malaysian otters that suggest the importance of continuous assessment and population status of otters to ensure their ongoing survival in Peninsular Malaysia.
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