Zoological Studies

Vol. 60, 2021

(update: 2021.06.18; 10.08)

Taxonomy, Evolutionary and Dispersal Events of Pig-Tailed Macaque, Macaca nemestrina (Linnaeus, 1766) in Southeast Asia with Description of a New Subspecies, Macaca nemestrina perakensis in Malaysia

Muhammad Abu Bakar Abdul-Latiff1,2,3 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: abdullatiff02727@gmail.com or latiff@uthm.edu.my (Abdul-Latiff)
2Oasis Integrated Group (OIG), Institute for Integrated Engineering (IČE), Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, 86400 Parit Raja, Johor, Malaysia.
3Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (Pagoh Campus), 84600, Muar, Johor, Malaysia.

Received 23 June 2020 / Accepted 6 June 2021
Communicated by Teng-Chiu Lin

The pig-tailed macaque, Macaca nemestrina, which is distributed in Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Borneo, and Sumatra, has been the subject of unstable and changing taxonomic entity in the M. nemestrina group. This species is involved with a human-macaque conflict in Malaysia and at the same time played an important role in the ethnozoological culture of Malaysian. Even so, comprehensive phylogenetic, population genetics and biogeographical analysis of M. nemestrina in Malaysia are non-existent after decades of intensive research on the genus itself. Thus, we conducted the first comprehensive genetic study of M. nemestrina in Malaysia, based on three mitochondrial loci—Cytochrome b (567 bp), D-loop (398 bp), and COI (577 bp)—from 27 individuals representing Malaysia, plus an additional 26 sequences of Southeast Asian macaques from Genbank. Comparative biogeographical analysis in this study supports the positions of M. nemestrina in M. nemestrina groups as opposed to the silenus or Sulawesi groups. Results from this study also indicate that Bornean populations are the first extant lineages to separate from the other examined lineages of M. nemestrina, M. leonina, M. pagensis, and M. siberu in Southeast Asia. Molecular clock analysis suggested that M. nemestrina arrived in the Malay Peninsula about 0.32 million years ago (MYA). Our results indicate that the population of pig-tailed macaque from Perak (west Peninsular Malaysia) differs genetically based on all phylogenetic and population genetic analyses. Morphologically, Perak’s pig-tailed macaque shows brighter coloration than M. n. nemestrina. Thus, we proposed a new subspecies for Perak’s pig-tailed macaque as Macaca nemestrina perakensis distributed in the state of Perak, Peninsular Malaysia. This research helps resolve the taxonomic position and population genetics of pig-tailed macaque in Malaysia, which contribute directly to conservation and management of the species in Malaysia.

Key words: Pig-tailed macaque, Macaca nemestrina, Cercopithecinae, Phylogeography, Taxonomy.

Citation: Abdul-Latiff MAB, Md-Zain BM. 2021. Taxonomy, evolutionary and dispersal events of pig-tailed macaque, Macaca nemestrina (Linnaeus, 1766) in southeast asia with description of a new subspecies, Macaca nemestrina perakensis in Malaysia. Zool Stud 60:50. doi:10.6620/ZS.2021.60-50.