Coatis are traditionally divided into two genera (Nasua and Nasuella). Coatis from the lowlands of the Neotropics are larger (Nasua nasua in South America and Nasua narica in Central America) than those from the highlands in the Andean Cordilleras (Nasuella olivacea and maybe Nasuella meridensis). Some authors have claimed that Nasuella should be included in Nasua but strong data have not been provided to support this statement. We reported an extensive mitochondrial (mt) DNA analysis with 205 specimens with complete mitogenomes. Some N. olivacea were intermixed among haplogroups of N. nasua, some haplotypes of N. narica were intermediate between N. nasua and the most recent haplotypes of the Central American N. narica, and N. narica from southern Central America and northern Colombia were introgressed with mtDNA from N. olivacea. Furthermore, the spatial genetic structure of N. nasua, N. narica, and N. olivacea were practically identical. Additionally, we also show, for first the time, the karyotype of N. olivacea. The chromosome morphology of N. olivacea was un-differentiable from that of N. nasua. These data fail to support the independence of these two genera.
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Thanks to Dr Diana Alvarez, Pablo Escobar-Armel, Nicolás Lichilín, Luisa Fernanda Castellanos-Mora, Dr. Clara Saldamando, Armando Castellanos, and Jorge Brito for their respective help in obtaining Nasua and Nasuella during the last 20 years. This work was financed by the Project 6839 (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana). Thanks to the Ministerio del Ambiente Ecuatoriano (MAE) in Santo Domingo de Tsáchilas and in Coca, to INABIO (Quito, Ecuador), to the Instituto von Humboldt (Colombia), to the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, PRODUCE (Dirección Nacional de Extracción y Procesamiento Pesquero), Consejo Nacional del Ambiente and the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA) from Peru, to the Colección Boliviana de Fauna (Dr. Julieta Vargas), to CITES Bolivia, and to the Direccion General de Zoologicos y Vida Silvestre (DGZVS) in Mexico for their role in facilitating the collection of permits in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico. The second author also thanks the many people of diverse Indian tribes in Ecuador (Kichwa, Huaorani, Shuar and Achuar), Colombia (Jaguas, Ticunas, Huitoto, Cocama, Tucano, Nonuya, Yuri and Yucuna), Peru (Bora, Ocaina, Shipigo-Comibo, Capanahua, Angoteros, Orejón, Cocama, Kishuarana and Alamas), and Bolivia (Sirionó, Canichana, Cayubaba and Chacobo) for their assistance in obtaining samples of N. nasua, and multiple colonos and peasants in Andean areas of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, and multiple Mayan communities and peasants from Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, and southern Mexico for their assistance in obtaining samples of N. narica and Nasuella. Author contributions: M. Ruiz-García designed the research and obtained the major part of the samples of the study. M.F. Jaramillo, A. Bello and N. Leguizamon obtained some samples of Nasuella olivacea. M. Ruiz-García and J.M. Shostell supervised the molecular analyses. M.F. Jaramillo performed laboratory procedures with mtDNA. J.B. López and Y. Rivillas performed the karyotypes M. Ruiz-García performed the statistical analyses and wrote the manuscript with inputs from J.M. Shostell. M. Ruiz-García submitted sequences to GenBank. M.F. Jaramillo, J.B. López, Y. Rivillas, A. Bello, N. Leguizamon and J.M. Shostell revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
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