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Isolation and characterization of 18 microsatellite markers for the brown-throated three-toed sloth, Bradypus variegatus


The brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus) is an extremely sedentary arboreal mammal found in many Neotropical forests. Because of its low dispersal potential and ease in capture, it has the potential to serve as a model species to investigate the effects of land cover change in the Neotropics on gene flow and population connectivity. To better understand aspects of B. variegatus biology, such as mating system and dispersal rates, we isolated and characterized 18 polymorphic microsatellite markers. Markers were tested using 32 B. variegatus individuals sampled from a site in northeastern Costa Rica. Each locus contained between three and 12 alleles, while mean expected and observed heterozygosity were equal to 0.72. No loci deviated from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, and one locus was significantly linked to two others. These markers have sufficient polymorphism to identify individuals and assign parentage, and can further be used to investigate dispersal rates, mating structure, and other aspects of three-toed sloth ecology.

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This research was funded through a cooperative agreement between the Milwaukee Public Museum and the US Department of Agriculture. The authors thank Genetic Identification Services for assistance in microsatellite library development. We are grateful to the Hermelink family for access to their farm and logistical support during field sampling.

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Correspondence to Wynne E. Moss.

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Moss, W.E., Peery, M.Z., Gutiérrez-Espeleta, G.A. et al. Isolation and characterization of 18 microsatellite markers for the brown-throated three-toed sloth, Bradypus variegatus . Conservation Genet Resour 4, 1037–1039 (2012).

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  • Microsatellite
  • Neotropical forests
  • Three-toed sloth
  • Xenarthra