Guard hair micro-morphology of four non-human primates in Shasha Forest Reserve, Osun State, Nigeria

Fatsuma Olaleru, Temitope Rachael Olugbebi, Michelle Iyabo Fasona


Mammalian guard hairs have been used for their identification and have been proved useful in wildlife population surveys and trafficking. The qualitative and quantitative features of the dorsal guard hairs of four non-human primates (NHPs) from Shasha Forest Reserve were studied using standard procedures to determine their differences. The NHPs were mona (MM), putty-nosed (PNM), and white-throated (WTM) monkeys, and red-capped mangabey (RCM). The qualitative features determined were medulla pattern, and structure, scale margin distance and type, and scale pattern. The quantitative values studied were scale length and width, shaft diameter (μm), medulla diameter, and medulla index and fraction. Continuous medulla pattern was the only qualitative feature common to all the species. The MM hair had the highest recorded values for all morphological characteristics except shaft diameter and scale width in which PNM had the highest value of 323.00 ± 58.37 and 630.55 ± 213.95μm respectively. The medullary diameter, index and fraction, and shaft diameter were highly significant (P<0.001) among all the species. Post-hoc comparison showed that the medullary diameter, index, and fraction of hairs of the MM was significantly different (P≤0.001) from the other three NPHs. The shaft diameter of the MM was also significantly different from that of the PNM (P≤0.001), and WTM (P≤0.004). The scale width of RCM differed from PNM (P≤0.01), and WTM (P≤0.05). These empirically established morphological differences in guard hairs of the four NHPs in SFR would be useful in verifying their habitat occupancy and forensic evidence in case of illegal trafficking.

Keywords. Dorsal hair, medulla hair pattern, mona monkey, non-invasive studies, qualitative hair features.

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