Variability of tail length in hybrids of the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) and the Taiwanese macaque (Macaca cyclopis)
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- Hamada, Y., Yamamoto, A., Kunimatsu, Y. et al. Primates (2012) 53: 397. doi:10.1007/s10329-012-0317-3
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In primates, tail length is subject to wide variation, and the tail may even be absent. Tail length varies greatly between each species group of the genus Macaca, which is explained by climatic factors and/or phylogeographic history. Here, tail length variability was studied in hybrids of the Japanese (M. fuscata) and Taiwanese (Macaca cyclopis) macaque, with various degrees of hybridization being evaluated through autosomal allele typing. Relative tail length (percent of crown–rump length) correlated well with the number of caudal vertebrae. Length profiles of caudal vertebrae of hybrids and parent species revealed a common pattern: the length of several proximal-most vertebrae do not differ greatly; then from the third or fourth vertebra, the length rapidly increases and peaks at around the fifth to seventh vertebra; then the length plateaus for several vertebrae and finally shows a gentle decrease. As the number of caudal vertebrae and relative tail length increase, peak vertebral length and lengths of proximal vertebrae also increase, except that of the first vertebra, which only shows a slight increase. Peak vertebral length and the number of caudal vertebrae explained 92 % of the variance in the relative tail length of hybrids. Relative tail length correlated considerably well with the degree of hybridization, with no significant deviation from the regression line being observed. Thus, neither significant heterosis nor hybrid depression occurred.