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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2008 May;47(2):629-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.03.006. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Mitochondrial phylogeny, taxonomy and biogeography of the silvered langur species group (Trachypithecus cristatus).

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  • 1Primate Genetics and Gene Bank of Primates, German Primate Center, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Goettingen, Germany.


With a distribution ranging from mainland Southeast Asia to the Sunda region, the silvered langur species group is the most widely distributed species complex of the genus Trachypithecus. However, the systematic classification of its members and the phylogenetic relationships among them are less understood, leading to different classification schemes and proposed distribution zones. To address these issues, we sequenced a 573 bp long fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene from 115 silvered langurs (68 individuals from known origin). According to our data, five monophyletic clades were detected, which refer to the five taxa auratus, cristatus, germaini, margarita and mauritius. The phylogenetic relationships among them are not well resolved, indicating a radiation-like splitting event, which was estimated to have occurred about 0.95-1.25 mya. Within T. cristatus, two major clades were detected, with one comprising specimens from Sumatra, Borneo and the Natuna archipelago, and the other solely individuals from the Malaysian peninsula. According to our findings, we propose to rank all five taxa as distinct species. While T. auratus, T. germaini, T. margarita and T. mauritius seem to be monotypic, T. cristatus should be split into two subspecies, with the Malaysian form being described as new form here. From a phylogeographic perspective, the species group most likely originated on Java. During the early Pleistocene, its range was expanded to the Malaysian peninsula and to the Southeast Asian mainland. Later on, the Malaysian form colonised further regions of the Sunda region, including Sumatra, Borneo and the Natuna archipelago.

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