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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #214126

Title: Morphological and genetic characterization of Saimiri boliviensis

item Ascunce, Marina

Submitted to: International Journal of Primatology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/29/2008
Publication Date: 2/9/2009
Citation: Steinberg, E.R., Nieves, M., Ascunce, M.S., Palermo, A.M., Mudry, M.D. 2009. Morphological And Genetic Characterization of Saimiri boliviensis (Primates: Cebidae): Implications For Management And Conservation. Conservation Genetics.30:29-41.

Interpretive Summary: The genus Saimiri, squirrel monkeys, inhabits Central America and the rainforest along the Amazon River in South America, reaching the Guyanas in the northern part of its distribution and the north of Bolivia in its southern range. Over the last 50 years, the systematics of this genus has been studied using morphological, karyotypic, behavioral and biogeographical traits; however, squirel monkey systematics is still under discussion. A Postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, USDA, ARS, Gainesville, Florida, and scientists from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) describe here for the first time the morphology and morphometry of the sperm cells of the Bolivian Squirrel Monkey, Saimiri boliviensis boliviensis, a potential measurement parameter for inbreeding depression in captive colonies. In addition, a set of genetic markers including cytogenetics and mitochondrial DNA, was tested and showed to be useful for species identification of S. b. boliviensis.

Technical Abstract: The taxonomy of the genus Saimiri is controversial since morphological characters, traditionally used for identification, are insufficient to distinguish species and subspecies. Genetic studies of specimens in captivity become relevant, especially considering their frequently unknown geographical origin. We analyzed 27 males and 19 females of Saimiri sp. captive in zoological gardens and breeding centers in Argentina. The pelage coloration pattern of all the specimens corresponded to Saimiri boliviensis boliviensis. We characterized the sperm cells morphology and morphometry (Mean ± SE): total length: 71.39 ± 5.40 'm; head length: 5.71 ± 0.81 'm; head width: 3.76 ± 0.70 'm; acrosome length: 3.70 ± 0.82 'm; midpiece length: 12.20 ± 2.22 'm. The midpiece was larger than the one observed in Alouatta caraya, Cebus apella and Ateles paniscus. The total length is larger than A. caraya´s, and shorter than in A. paniscus. No significant differences were observed in the length or width of the spermatic head. The cytogenetic analysis (G, C, and FISH) in arrested mitotic metaphases obtained from 72-hour cultures of lymphocytes from peripheral blood samples confirmed a 2N=44, XX/XY and NF=75 for males and NF=76 for females, in agreement with S. boliviensis boliviensis. Nucleotide variability within the mitochondrial COII gene exhibited intraspecific polymorphism distinguishing S. boliviensis from S. sciureus and suggesting a speciation event in the past. All the characters analyzed allowed an unequivocal identification of the individuals belonging to Saimiri boliviensis boliviensis.