Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Diversity and origins of wild pigs from Madagascar (#754)

Jenna Day 1 , Carol Lee 1 , Steven M Goodman 2 3 , Miguel Pedrono 4 , Guillaume Besnard 5 , Laurent Frantz 6 , Peter J Taylor 7 , Jaime Gongora 1
  1. Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
  2. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois 60605, USA
  3. Association Vahatra, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
  4. CIRAD, U.R. AGIRs, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
  5. Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique, Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, 31062, Toulouse, France
  6. School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
  7. School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Madagascar was settled by Austronesians (proto-Malagasy) ~1500–2000 years ago and immediately after that by native East African groups. Bushpigs of the genus Potamochoerus are suggested to have been introduced to Madagascar from eastern mainland Africa and/or offshore islands. The earliest archaeological evidence for bushpigs in Madagascar dates to the 10th-13th centuries and possibly on the Comoro Islands to the 9th-10th centuries. Although the circumstances of the translocation are unclear, it has been proposed that pigs introduced to this island were of sub-Saharan African origin, which could have been transported directly across the Mozambique Channel or through a corridor via the neighbouring islands by early sea navigators who settled in Madagascar. Furthermore, two subspecies/populations of Malagasy bushpigs have been nominated from eastern and western Madagascar. However, genetic evidence to make definitive conclusions on the taxonomic status and geographical origins of these Malagasy wild bushpigs is currently not available. To contribute to this debate, we investigate the level of differentiation within Malagasy bushpigs (n=62) and their phylogenetic position in relation to other species of African and Eurasian Suidae using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Our preliminary results show little genetic differentiation between Malagasy bushpigs from western and eastern Madagascar and that they cluster within the genus Potamochoerus. Analyses of further samples from mainland Africa are underway to better pinpoint the evolutionary relationships of Malagasy bushpigs with the recognised species of this genus and the geographical source of the populations.