, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 651-674

Update on the Phylogenetic Systematics of New World Monkeys: Further DNA Evidence for Placing the Pygmy Marmoset (Cebuella) within the Genus Callithrix

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Abstract

We determined DNA sequences spanning the 1.8-kb long intron 1 of the interstitial retinol-binding protein nuclear gene (IRBP) for Callithrix geoffroyi, Callithrix humeralifer, and Callithrix argentata. With the 22 previously determined IRBP intron 1 sequences—21 from the 16 currently recognized genera of New World monkeys—the enlarged IRBP data represent for the marmoset genus Callithrix both its argentata and its jacchus species groups. Maximum-parsimony and neighbor-joining trees, constructed for the 25 aligned IRBP intron 1 sequences, support a provisional phylogenetic classification with three families: Atelidae, containing subfamily Atelinae; Pitheciidae, containing subfamily Pitheciinae; and Cebidae, containing subfamilies Cebinae, Aotinae, and Callitrichinae. In order to have taxa at the same hierarchical rank at equivalent age, this classification has all living callitrichines in a single tribe, Callitrichini, with four subtribes: Saguinina (Saguinus), Callimiconina (Callimico), Leontopithecina (Leontopithecus), and Callitrichina (Callithrix with the pygmy marmoset, Cebuella pygmaea, merged into it). The DNA evidence shows not only that Callithrix must include C. pygmaea to be monophyletic but also that the times of separation of pygmaea and the argentata and jacchus species groups from one another are to be expected (<5 Ma—million years ago) for species in a single genus. On relating the time course of the ceboid radiation to biogeographic information, it appears that in mid-Miocene times (10–11 Ma) a basal callitrichin stock branched into the ancestral population of Saguinus in one clade and the ancestral population of Leontopithecus and Callimico–Callithrix (or Leontopithecus–Callimico and Callithrix) in another clade. The proto-lion tamarins migrated south and eastward, where they were isolated in refugia, becoming the genus Leontopithecus. The stock remaining in Amazonia gave rise to present-day Callimico and Callithrix. The latter genus occupied a vast geographic area, giving rise to the argentata and pygmaea groups in Amazonia and to the jacchus group in central and eastern Brazil.