Retention of reproductive barriers and ecological differences between two introduced sympatric Macropus spp. in New Zealand

Andrea C. Taylor, P. Sunnucks, D. W. Cooper

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14 Citations (Scopus)


In their native Australia, tammar (Macropus eugenii) and parma (M. parma) wallabies are allopatric and differ markedly in habitat use, social structure and degree of reproductive synchrony. They occur sympatrically only on Kawau Is., New Zealand, as a result of introductions last century. Reproductive data collected from wallabies on Kawau Is. in April 1996 show that M. eugenii maintains high reproductive synchrony while M. parma remains asynchronous. Both species show sexual dimorphism and differences in habitat use as seen in Australia. In addition M. parma is more solitary, and is frequently found in closed-canopy woodland, while M. eugenii tends to aggregate in open grassy clearings. Thus the species maintain broad reproductive and biological distinctions, despite enforced sympatry in a novel environment. Highly-resolving genetic (microsatellite) data reveal no evidence for hybridization. This is essential information given the known (M. eugenii) or likely (M. parma) high conservation value of New Zealand stocks. Kawau Is. is the only predator-free site with M. parma, a species whose persistence in Australia is threatened by fox predation. Finally, we use data on mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence divergence amongst several Macropus taxa to demonstrate close agreement with degree of reproductive isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Conservation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

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