ESR 24:105-114 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00587

Distribution and genetic diversity of the Endangered Abbott’s duiker Cephalophus spadix in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania

Andrew E. Bowkett1,2,*, Trevor Jones3,4, Francesco Rovero5,6, Martin R. Nielsen7, Tim R. B. Davenport8, Dawn M. Hawkins4, Amy B. Plowman2, Jamie R. Stevens1

1Molecular Ecology and Evolution Group, Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK
2Field Conservation and Research Department, Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, Paignton Zoo, Totnes Road, Paignton TQ4 7EU, UK
3Udzungwa Elephant Project, Box 2494, Iringa, Tanzania
4Animal and Environmental Research Group, Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
5Tropical Biodiversity Section, MUSE—Museo delle Scienze, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza 3, 38123 Trento, Italy
6Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre, c/o Udzungwa Mountains National Park, PO Box 99, Mang’ula, Tanzania
7Department for Food and Resource Economy, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
8Tanzania Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, PO Box 922, Zanzibar, Tanzania
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Abbott’s duiker Cephalophus spadix is a forest antelope endemic to a very few highland forests in Tanzania. Apparently extinct over much of its historical range, the species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature based on its rarity and its known current distribution in only 5 isolated upland areas: Kilimanjaro, Southern Highlands, West Usambara, Rubeho and Udzungwa Mountains. In contrast to the situation in the rest of its range, Abbott’s duiker is relatively well documented and locally abundant in parts of the Udzungwa Mountains, which may now be the only stronghold for the species. We review the distribution of Abbott’s duiker within the Udzungwa Mountains and present new information based on the non-invasive genetic identification of dung piles collected from the majority of forest blocks between 2006 and 2010 (73 confirmed dung samples). Our results include new records from outlying forest blocks where the presence of Abbott’s duiker was previously unknown. Moreover, we present the first population-level analysis of genetic structure and diversity in this endangered species based on nuclear microsatellites and mitochondrial sequence data. While these genetic results are limited due to small sample sizes, they indicate differentiation from other Abbott’s duiker populations, as well as low genetic diversity relative to sympatric antelope species. Finally, we discuss threats to Abbott’s duiker and identify broad trends within the differently managed Udzungwa Mountain forests, and elsewhere, that suggest potentially successful conservation strategies for this neglected species.


KEY WORDS: Eastern Arc Mountains · Faecal DNA · Phylogeny · Camera-traps · Duikers


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Cite this article as: Bowkett AE, Jones T, Rovero F, Nielsen MR and others (2014) Distribution and genetic diversity of the Endangered Abbott’s duiker Cephalophus spadix in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Endang Species Res 24:105-114. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00587

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