Wednesday, April 4, 2012
A recent study looked at the acoustic structure of loud-calls and molecular phylogeny in surilis (leaf monkeys, Presbytis) of Sumatra and Java. The taxonomy of this group has been disputed over the years, largely due to over 50 described color variants in this genus. Surilis emit loud, acoustic vocalizations that have several functions (defend resources, mate competition, intragroup cohesion, etc.). In order to delineate the phylogeny of this diverse genus, this study combined the results from a previous phylogenetics study (same research group) with their analysis of 100 acoustic vocalizations emitted from 68 male surili individuals across 19 locations. They demonstrated that the structure of acoustic calls reliably maps onto phylogenetic relatedness, thus indicating a tool for identifying species and providing a robust example of integrative taxonomy.