Population genetics implications for the conservation of the Philippine Crocodile Crocodylus mindorensis Schmidt, 1935 (Crocodylia: Crocodylidae)

M.R.P. Hinlo, J.A.G. Tabora, C.A. Bailey, S. Trewick, G. Rebong, M.V. Weerd, C.C. Pomares, S.E. Engberg, R.A. Brenneman, E.E. Louis, Jr.

Abstract


Limited information is available on the Philippine Crocodile, Crocodylus mindorensis, concerning levels of genetic diversity either relative to other crocodilian species or among populations of the species itself. With only two known extant populations of C. mindorensis remaining, potentially low levels of genetic diversity are a conservation concern. Here, we evaluated 619 putative Philippine Crocodiles using a suite of 11 microsatellite markers, and compared them to four other crocodilian species sample sets. The two remaining populations from the island of Luzon and the island of Mindanao, representing the extremes of the former species’ distribution, appear to be differentiated as a result of genetic drift rather than selection. Both extant populations demonstrate lower genetic diversity and effective population sizes relative to other studied crocodilian species. The 57 C. mindorensis and C. porosus, Saltwater Crocodile, hybrids identified earlier from the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center were revalidated with a suite of 20 microsatellite loci; however, the timing of the event and the prevalence of hybridization in the species had yet to be fully determined. We defined the hybrids as one first cross from a C. porosus female and a C. mindorensis male and 56 C. mindorensis backcross individuals. This hybridization event appears to be confined to the PWRCC collection.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3384.5513-33

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Copyright (c) 2014 M.R.P. Hinlo, J.A.G. Tabora, C.A. Bailey, S. Trewick, G. Rebong, M.V. Weerd, C.C. Pomares, S.E. Engberg, R.A. Brenneman, E.E. Louis, Jr.

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