Abstract

Genetic structure of a group of capybaras, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (Rodentia: Hydrocheridae) in the Colombian Eastern Llanos. The capybaras are the biggest rodents in the world but, however, there are not extensive population genetics studies on them. in the current work, we studied the genetic structure of a troop of 31 capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) sampled in Hato Corozal, Casanare Department at the Colombian Eastern Llanos, by means of five microsatellite markers. The gene diversity was 0.61 and the average allele number was 5.2, which is a medium-low level for markers of this nature. Out five markers employed, three were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium meanwhile one showed a significant homozygote excess and other presented a significant heterozygote excess. There were not significant genetic differences between males and females inside this troop. The application of different procedures to determine possible historical demographic changes (population expansions or bottlenecks) clearly showed that the population analyzed crossed over a very narrow recent bottleneck. The illegal hunt is the possibly cause of this strong genetic bottleneck.