Hybridization and population genetics of two macaque species in Sulawesi, Indonesia

B. J. Evans, Jatna Supriatna, D. J. Melnick

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65 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates hybridization and population genetics of two species of macaque monkey in Sulawesi, Indonesia, using molecular markers from mitochondrial, autosomal, and Y-chromosome DNA. Hybridization is the interbreeding of individuals from different parental taxa that are distinguishable by one or more heritable characteristics. Because hybridization can affect population structure of the parental taxa, it is an important consideration for conservation management. On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi an explosive diversification of macaques has occurred; seven of 19 species in the genus Macaca live on this island. The contact zone of the subjects of this study, M. maura and M. tonkeana, is located at the base of the southwestern peninsula of Sulawesi. Land conversion in Sulawesi is occurring at an alarming pace; currently two species of Sulawesi macaque, one of which is M. maura, are classified as endangered species. Results of this study indicate that hybridization among M. maura and M. tonkeana has led to different distributions of molecular variation in mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA in the contact zone; mitochondrial DNA shows a sharp transition from M. maura to M. tonkeana haplotypes, but nuclear DNA from the parental taxa is homogenized in a narrow hybrid zone. Similarly, within M. maura divergent mitochondrial DNA haplotypes are geographically structured but population subdivision in the nuclear genome is low or absent. In M. tonkeana, mitochondrial DNA haplotypes are geographically structured and a high level of nuclear DNA population subdivision is present in this species. These results are largely consistent with a macaque behavioral paradigm of female philopatry and obligate male dispersal, suggest that introgression between M. maura and M. tonkeana is restricted to the hybrid zone, and delineate one conservation management unit in M. maura and at least two in M. tonkeana.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1686-1702
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Hybrid zone
  • Macaque monkeys
  • Microsatellites
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Population structure
  • Southeast Asia


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