Faecal DNA-based genetic analysis is a suitable tool for assessing both population size and genetic diversity of threatened and elusive species. We applied microsatellite analysis and mtDNA sequencing for investigating the southernmost Italian (Sila Massif, Calabria Region) population of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). This relict population, filed as extinct in the mid-1980s, is currently expanding but still quite isolated. On the two main rivers hosting otters permanently since 2014, we collected 47 spraints, out of which 24 (51.1%) were successfully genotyped (on average 2.0 alleles per locus). Thirteen individuals were identified: seven females and three males (sex identification success of 76.9%). Population size was assessed as 16 individuals (13-22), corresponding to a density of 0.15 (0.13-0.21) ind/km. Successfully amplified mtDNA samples (N = 16) confirmed the occurrence of a haplotype-H10-which had been previously reported only for Southern Italy, bringing new evidence of the unicity of the Italian otter population. Although density values complied with those reported for the core area of otter Italian range, the small size and genetic isolation of this population require special attention. To assist the ongoing re-colonisation of the Sila Massif, habitat management should aim to enhance fish availability and connectivity with the core area.

Faecal DNA-based genetic survey of a relict Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) population (Sila Massif, S Italy) / A. Balestrieri, P. Gariano, M. Grandinetti, F. Verduci, L. Gianfranceschi, E. Gatti, N. Mucci, C. Mengoni, P. Tremolada. - In: CONSERVATION GENETICS RESOURCES. - ISSN 1877-7252. - (2022), pp. 1-9. [Epub ahead of print] [10.1007/s12686-022-01286-z]

Faecal DNA-based genetic survey of a relict Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) population (Sila Massif, S Italy)

A. Balestrieri
Primo
;
L. Gianfranceschi;E. Gatti;P. Tremolada
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Faecal DNA-based genetic analysis is a suitable tool for assessing both population size and genetic diversity of threatened and elusive species. We applied microsatellite analysis and mtDNA sequencing for investigating the southernmost Italian (Sila Massif, Calabria Region) population of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). This relict population, filed as extinct in the mid-1980s, is currently expanding but still quite isolated. On the two main rivers hosting otters permanently since 2014, we collected 47 spraints, out of which 24 (51.1%) were successfully genotyped (on average 2.0 alleles per locus). Thirteen individuals were identified: seven females and three males (sex identification success of 76.9%). Population size was assessed as 16 individuals (13-22), corresponding to a density of 0.15 (0.13-0.21) ind/km. Successfully amplified mtDNA samples (N = 16) confirmed the occurrence of a haplotype-H10-which had been previously reported only for Southern Italy, bringing new evidence of the unicity of the Italian otter population. Although density values complied with those reported for the core area of otter Italian range, the small size and genetic isolation of this population require special attention. To assist the ongoing re-colonisation of the Sila Massif, habitat management should aim to enhance fish availability and connectivity with the core area.
Population size; Density; Microsatellites; Heterozygosity; Haplotype;
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
3-ago-2022
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/937289
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