Zoological Studies

Vol. 59, 2020

(update: 2020.10.16; 11.30)

Taxonomic Revision and Evolutionary Phylogeography of Dusky Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus) in Peninsular Malaysia

Nor Rahman Aifat1, Muhammad Abu Bakar Abdul-Latiff1,2, Christian Roos3, and Badrul Munir Md-Zain1,*


1Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia. *Correspondence: E-mail: abgbadd1966@yahoo.com (Md-Zain)
E-mail: aifat89@gmail.com (Aifat)
2Centre of Research for Sustainable Uses of Natural Resources (CoR-SUNR), Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Pagoh Campus, 84000 Muar, Johor, Malaysia. E-mail: abdullatiff02727@gmail.com (Abdul-Latiff)
3Primate Genetics and Gene Bank of Primates, German Primate Center, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Goettingen, Germany. E-mail: croos@dpz.eu (Roos)

Received 29 May 2020 / Accepted 4 October 2020
Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan

Dusky langur, Trachypithecus obscurus, inhabits tropical rainforests in Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Morphologically, five subspecies are distributed in Peninsular Malaysia, but few studies have used genetic data to verify the classification. It is difficult to differentiate subspecies based on morphological characteristics, so this study used molecular data to differentiate subspecies of T. obscurus. The issue was addressed by analyzing 723 and 649 base pairs of the mitochondrial D-loop region and COI, respectively. DNA amplifications were performed using species-specific primer toward 35 individuals representing different populations. Phylogenetic analyses showed that two main clades representing populations in southern and northern Peninsular Malaysia. The results demonstrate that subspecies of T. obscurus in Peninsular Malaysia does not support classification based on the morphology that recognizes five subspecies. Previous study based on morphology that classified the subspecies on Perhentian Island, Terengganu, as T. obscurus styx is not recognized in this study. This subspecies happened to merge with the population in northern Peninsular Malaysia. Trachypithecus o. styx probably inhabited the southern
peninsula and, due to the terminal Pleistocene sea level rise, spread to the east coast but could not spread farther because the subspecies was situated on offshore islands during the period. This assumption was supported by the molecular clock, which showed that subspecies on Perhentian Island spread after the Perlis population (T. obscurus flavicauda).

Key words: Trachypithecus obscurus, Dusky leaf monkey, Dusky langur, Colobinae, Primate phylogeography.

Citation: Aifat NR, Abdul-Latiff MAB, Roos C, Md-Zain BM. 2020. Aifat NR, Abdul-Latiff MAB, Roos C, Md-Zain BM. 2020. Taxonomic revision and evolutionary phylogeography of dusky langur (Trachypithecus obscurus) in Peninsular Malaysia. Zool Stud 59:64. doi:10.6620/ZS.2020.59-64.