, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 63–79 | Cite as

Is Malaysia’s banded langur, Presbytis femoralis femoralis, actually Presbytis neglectus neglectus? Taxonomic revision with new insights on the radiation history of the Presbytis species group in Southeast Asia

  • Muhammad Abu Bakar Abdul-Latiff
  • Hanisah Baharuddin
  • Pazil Abdul-Patah
  • Badrul Munir Md-ZainEmail author
Original Article


The disjunct distribution of Presbytis femoralis subspecies across Sumatra (P. f. percura), southern (P. f. femoralis) and northern (P. f. robinsoni) Peninsular Malaysia marks the unique vicariance events in the Sunda Shelf. However, the taxonomic positions and evolutionary history of P. f. femoralis are unresolved after decades of research. To elucidate this evolutionary history, we analyzed 501 base pairs of the mitochondrial HVSI gene from 25 individuals representing Malaysia’s banded langur, with the addition of 29 sequences of Asian Presbytis from Genbank. Our results revealed closer affinity of P. f. femoralis to P. m. mitrata and P. m. sumatrana while maintaining the monophyletic state of P. f. femoralis as compared to P. f. robinsoni. Two central theses were inferred from the results; (1) P. f. femoralis does not belong in the same species classification as P. f. robinsoni, and (2) P. f. femoralis is the basal lineage of the Presbytis in Peninsular Malaysia. Proving the first hypothesis through genetic analysis, we reassigned P. f. femoralis of Malaysia to Presbytis neglectus (Schlegel’s banded langur) (Schlegel in Revue Methodique, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle des Pays-Bas 7:1, 1876) following the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (article 23.3). The ancestors of P. neglectus are hypothesized to have reached southern Peninsular Malaysia during the Pleistocene and survived in refugium along the western coast. Consequently, they radiated upward, forming P. f. robinsoni and P. siamensis resulting in the highly allopatric distribution in Peninsular Malaysia. This study has successfully resolved the taxonomic position of P. neglectus in Peninsular Malaysia while providing an alternative biogeographic theory for the Asian Presbytis.


Presbytis femoralis femoralis Presbytis neglectus neglectus Presbytis melalophos Schlegel’s banded langur Banded langur 



We are deeply indebted to Department of Wildlife and National Parks that provided us with the necessary facilities and assistance for fecal sample collections. We thank Najmuddin Mohd Faudzir for preparing the maps and figures used in this paper. The authors acknowledge Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia for providing necessary funding, facilities and assistance. The research was conducted under research permit (JPHL&TN(IP):100-34/1.24 Jld 8). This research was supported by Grants AP-2015-004, FRGS/1/2012/STWN10/UKM/02/3, UKM-GUP-2011-168, UKM-GUP-2017-087, ERGS/1/2013/STWN10/UKM/02/1, FRGS/1/2018/WAB13/UTHM/03/2, DLP-2013-006, and GPPS-UTHM-U971-2017.


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© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental and Natural Resource SciencesFaculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Centre of Research for Sustainable Uses of Natural Resources (CoR-SUNR)Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (Pagoh Campus)MuarMalaysia
  3. 3.Biodiversity Conservation Division, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)Kuala LumpurMalaysia

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