PHENOTYPIC CHARACTERIZATION AND OCCURRENCE OF PANGOLIN SPECIES IN BUSH MEAT MARKET AT EMURE-ILE, ONDO STATE, NIGERIA

Abstract

Update on identification key for existing species is important in the face of constant over exploitation and habitat destruction which may force species to reduce/expand their range and may lead to overlap in habitat of species and consequently hybridization in distinct species or subspecies. Pangolin species occurring in Emure-ile, state, Nigeria were compared for species availability and frequency of occurrence at bush meat market. Popular bush meat market was visited in 2015 to document the species of pangolins traded as well as the occurrence of each species of pangolin. As obtained from the physical observation of the available species, two distinct species (Phataginus tricuspis and Phataginus tetradactyla) were recorded throughout the study period. These species were differentiated using the colour of their scale and under part. Based on morphometric measurements, the two species are not distinguishable by body weight, and head length but differ significantly from each other using their body and tail length. P. tetradactyla has longer body length and tail (32.13cm and 26.8cm) respectively compared to P. tricuspis (24.91cm and 1975cm) at a significant level of P < 0.05. Occurrence is higher for P. tricuspis throughout the study period. In general, occurrence is low for both species at the study site. Scale, under part coloration, and tail length remain key identification factors in pangolin differentiation.

 

Key Words: Characterization, Pangolins, Conservation, Occurrence

DOI: https://ejesm.org/doi/v11.8S

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