International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1132–1153 | Cite as

Genetic Diversity, Population Size, and Conservation of the Critically Endangered Perrier’s Sifaka (Propithecus perrieri)

  • Jordi SalmonaEmail author
  • Helena Teixeira
  • Emmanuel Rasolondraibe
  • Isa Aleixo-Pais
  • Célia Kun-Rodrigues
  • Ando Nantenaina Rakotonanahary
  • Fabien Jan
  • Clément Joseph Rabarivola
  • John Rigobert Zaonarivelo
  • Nicole Volasoa Andriaholinirina
  • Lounès ChikhiEmail author


Genetic data can be combined with ecological data to study the demographic history of a species, identify landscape features that influence migration patterns, and guide conservation efforts. Perrier’s sifaka (Propithecus perrieri) is a Critically Endangered, rare, and elusive social lemur living in a very restricted, fragmented landscape. To assess the effect of habitat loss and fragmentation on the genetic diversity of the Perrier’s sifaka population we examined 24 microsatellite markers genotyped for 67 samples corresponding to 42 individuals. Perrier’s sifaka shows a low current effective population size (ca. 52–105) and a strong heterozygosity excess, suggesting a historically large but dwindling population. Moreover, we identified a pattern of isolation by distance, typical of continuous habitat, suggesting that sifakas were still able to cross the grasslands between forest fragments in the recent past. Our study calls for a unified conservation plan covering the two protected areas where the species is still present, if not the whole area of its past distribution. Further studies inferring the past demographic history of Perrier’s sifaka may confirm the population decline and shed light on its potential causes.


Bottleneck Indriidae Lemur Madagascar Strepsirrhini 



We thank CAFF/CORE, the Direction Générale de l’Environnement et des Forêts, Madagascar National Park, the Fanamby NGO (in particular S. Rajaobelina V. Rasoloarison, P. Ranirison, and S. Wohlhauser), the Direction Régionale de l’Environnement et des Forêts région DIANA, and M. Banks for discussion and advices on Perrier’s sifaka. The field work was possible thanks to the continuous support of the Département de Biologie Animale et Ecologie, University of Mahajanga; the University of Antsiranana; and to a large extent, thanks to the participation of many great local guides and cooks whom we warmly thank for their help in the field and for sharing their incomparable expertise of the forest, Misaotra anareo jiaby. Finally we thank the Genomics Unit at the IGC, Sequencing Service, for their collaboration and L. Wilmé, R. Heller, E. Quéméré, and I. Carvalho for comments and discussion on the manuscript, Joanna Setchell and the editors of Biological Conservation and American Journal of Primatology as well as several anonymous reviewers who substantially helped improving the manuscript. Financial support for this study was provided by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/BIA-BEC/100176/2008, PTDC/BIA-BIC/4476/2012, and SFRH/BD/64875/2009); the GDRI Madagascar; the Laboratoire d’Excellence (LABEX) entitled TULIP (ANR-10-LABX-41); the Rufford Small Grant Foundation, grant 10941-1; and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. C. Kun-Rodrigues and H. Teixeira were funded by an Optimus!Alive-IGC fellowship. This study was conducted in agreement with the laws of the countries of Portugal, France, and Madagascar.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordi Salmona
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helena Teixeira
    • 1
  • Emmanuel Rasolondraibe
    • 2
  • Isa Aleixo-Pais
    • 1
  • Célia Kun-Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Ando Nantenaina Rakotonanahary
    • 2
  • Fabien Jan
    • 1
  • Clément Joseph Rabarivola
    • 2
  • John Rigobert Zaonarivelo
    • 3
  • Nicole Volasoa Andriaholinirina
    • 2
  • Lounès Chikhi
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto Gulbenkian de CiêncaOeirasPortugal
  2. 2.Département de Biologie Animale et EcologieFaculté des Sciences, de Technologies et de l’Environnement de MahajangaMahajangaMadagascar
  3. 3.Département des Sciences de la Nature et de l’EnvironnementUniversité d’AntsirananaAntsirananaMadagascar
  4. 4.Laboratoire Evolution & Diversité BiologiqueUMR 5174 CNRS – Université Paul SabatierToulouseFrance
  5. 5.Université de Toulouse, UMR 5174 EDBToulouseFrance

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