CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Wildlife Research   
Wildlife Research
Journal Banner
  Ecology, Management and Conservation in Natural and Modified Habitats
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates
Library Recommendation

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 40(3)

Genetic profile of dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and free-roaming domestic dogs (C. l. familiaris) in the Tanami Desert, Australia

Thomas M. Newsome A B F, Danielle Stephens B C, Guy-Anthony Ballard D, Christopher R. Dickman A and Peter J. S. Fleming E

A Institute of Wildlife Research, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
B Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre, University of Canberra, ACT 2617, Australia.
C School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
D Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
E Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange Agricultural Institute, NSW 2800, Australia.
F Corresponding author. Email: tnew5216@uni.sydney.edu.au

Wildlife Research 40(3) 196-206 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR12128
Submitted: 10 July 2012  Accepted: 8 March 2013   Published: 3 May 2013

PDF (396 KB) $25
 Export Citation

Context: Many rare and endangered species are threatened by the effects of hybridisation with their domesticated and often numerically dominant relatives. However, factors that influence interactions between hybridising species are poorly understood, thus limiting our ability to develop ameliorative strategies.

Aims: Here, we identify family groups and investigate patterns of gene flow between dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and domestic dogs (C. l. familiaris) in the Tanami Desert of central Australia. We aimed to determine whether human-provided resources facilitate hybridisation or alter typical patterns of dingo breeding and social behaviour. We also ask whether remote townships are arenas for dingo–dog hybridisation.

Methods: Tissue samples and morphological details were collected from dingo-like animals around two mine sites where humans provide abundant supplementary food and water. Using molecular DNA analyses, we assigned animals to population clusters, determined kinship and the numbers of family groups. Rates of hybridisation were assessed around the mines and in two nearby townships.

Key results: Of 142 samples from mine sites, ‘pure’ dingoes were identified genetically in 89% of cases. This predominance of dingoes was supported by our observations on coat colour and body morphology. Only 2 of 86 domestic dogs sampled at the two townships showed evidence of dingo ancestry. Around the mine sites, there were two distinct population clusters, including a large family group of 55 individuals around a refuse facility.

Conclusions: Where superabundant and consistent food, and reliable water, was available, dingo packs were much larger and co-existed with others, contrary to expectations derived from previous research. Dingo sociality and pack structures can therefore be altered where human-provided food and water are constantly available, and this could facilitate accelerated rates of hybridisation.

Implications: The development of appropriate domestic-waste management strategies should be a high priority in remote areas to ensure only normal rates of population increase by dingoes, and other canids more broadly. It will also potentially impede hybridisation rates if typical canid social and behavioural traits remain intact. Additionally, areas surrounding remote human settlements are likely arenas for accentuated dingo–domestic dog interactions and should be a target for future studies.

Additional keywords: hybridisation, purity, relatedness, resource supplements, sociality.


Allen, B. L., Fleming, P. J. S., Allen, L. R., Engeman, R. M., Ballard, G., and Leung, L. K. P. (2013). As clear as mud: a critical review of evidence for the ecological roles of Australian dingoes. Biological Conservation 159, 158–174.
CrossRef |

Allendorf, F. W., Leary, R. F., Spruell, P., and Wenburg, J. K. (2001). The problems with hybrids: setting conservation guidelines. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 16, 613–622.
CrossRef |

Arnold, M. L. (1992). Natural hybridization as an evolutionary process. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 23, 237–261.
CrossRef |

Barton, N. H., and Hewitt, G. M. (1985). Analysis of hybrid zones. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 16, 113–148.
CrossRef |

Barton, N. H., and Hewitt, G. M. (1989). Adaptation, speciation and hybrid zones. Nature 341, 497–503.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Baume, F. (1994). ‘Tragedy Track: the Story of The Granites.’ (North Flinders Mines Ltd and Hesperian Press: Perth.)

Bino, G., Dolev, A., Yosha, D., Guter, A., King, R., Saltz, D., and Kark, S. (2010). Abrupt spatial and numerical responses of overabundant foxes to a reduction in anthropogenic resources. Journal of Applied Ecology 47, 1262–1271.
CrossRef |

Bohling, J. H., and Waits, L. P. (2011). Assessing the prevalence of hybridization between sympatric Canis species surrounding the red wolf (Canis rufus) recovery area in North Carolina. Molecular Ecology 20, 2142–2156.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Breckwoldt, R. (1988). ‘The Dingo: a Very Elegant Animal.’(Angus and Robertson Publishers: Sydney.)

Broquet, T., Berset-Braendli, L., Emaresi, G., and Fumagalli, L. (2007). Buccal swabs allow efficient and reliable microsatellite genotyping in amphibians. Conservation Genetics 8, 509–511.
CrossRef | CAS |

Carmichael, L. E., Nagy, J. A., Larter, N. C., and Strobeck, C. (2001). Prey specialization may influence patterns of gene flow in wolves of the Canadian Northwest. Molecular Ecology 10, 2787–2798.
| CAS | PubMed |

Corbett, L. K. (1985). Morphological comparisons of Australian and Thai dingoes: a reappraisal of dingo status, distribution and ancestry. Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia 13, 277–291.

Corbett, L. K. (1988). Social dynamics of a captive dingo pack: population regulation by dominant female infanticide. Ethology 78, 177–198.
CrossRef |

Corbett, L. K. (2001a). ‘The Dingo in Australia and Asia.’ (JB Books: Adelaide.)

Corbett, L. K. (2001b). The conservation status of the dingo Canis lupus dingo in Australia, with particular reference to New South Wales: threats to pure dingoes and potential solutions. In ‘A Symposium on the Dingo’. (Eds C. R. Dickman and D. Lunney.) pp. 10–19. (Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales: Sydney.)

Crawford, N. G. (2010). SMOGD: software for the measurement of genetic diversity. Molecular Ecology Resources 10, 556–557.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Daniels, M. J., and Corbett, L. K. (2003). Redefining introgressed protected mammals: when is a wildcat a wild cat and a dingo a wild dog? Wildlife Research 30, 213–218.
CrossRef |

Darimont, C. T., Paquet, P. C., and Reimchen, T. E. (2008). Spawning salmon disrupt trophic coupling between wolves and ungulate prey in coastal British Columbia. BMC Ecology 8, 14.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Dickman, C. R. (1996). Impact of exotic generalist predators on the native fauna of Australia. Wildlife Biology 2, 185–195.

Elledge, A. E., Leung, L. K. P., Allen, L. R., Firestone, K., and Wilton, A. N. (2006). Assessing the taxonomic status of dingoes Canis familiaris dingo for conservation. Mammal Review 36, 142–156.
CrossRef |

Elledge, A. E., Allen, L. R., Carlsson, B. L., Wilton, A. N., and Leung, L. K. P. (2008). An evaluation of genetic analyses, skull morphology and visual appearance for assessing dingo purity: implications for dingo conservation. Wildlife Research 35, 812–820.
CrossRef |

Evanno, G., Regnaut, S., and Goudet, J. (2005). Detecting the number of clusters of individuals using the software STRUCTURE: a simulation study. Molecular Ecology 14, 2611–2620.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Fedriani, J. M., Fuller, T. K., and Sauvajot, R. M. (2001). Does availability of anthropogenic food enhance densities of omnivorous mammals? An example with coyotes in southern California. Ecography 24, 325–331.

Fleming, P. J. S., Corbett, L. K., Harden, R., and Thomson, P. (2001). ‘Managing the Impacts of Dingoes and Other Wild Dogs.’ (Bureau of Rural Sciences: Canberra.)

Fleming, P. J. S., Allen, B. L., and Ballard, G. (2012). Seven considerations about dingoes as biodiversity engineers: the socioecological niches of dogs in Australia. Australian Mammalogy 34, 119–131.
CrossRef |

Francisco, L. V., Langston, A. A., Mellersh, C. S., Neal, C. L., and Ostrander, E. A. (1996). A class of highly polymorphic tetranucleotide repeats for canine genetic mapping. Mammalian Genome 7, 359–362.
| CAS | PubMed |

Fredholm, M., and Winterø, A. K. (1995). Variation of short tandem repeats within and between species belonging to the Canidae family. Mammalian Genome 6, 11–18.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Gibson, D.F. (1986). ‘A Biological Survey of the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory.’ (Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory: Alice Springs, NT.)

Handel, C. M., Pajot, L. M., Talbot, S. L., and Sage, G. K. (2006). Use of buccal swabs for sampling DNA from nestling and adult birds. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34, 1094–1100.
CrossRef |

Hardaker, J. (2012). Aspects relating to pets, people and indigenous communities and how to work together for a sustainable way forward. In ‘Proceedings of the Australian Institute of Animal Management Annual Conference on Animal Management, 2012’. (Ed. D. Murray.) pp. 48–53. (The Australian Institute of Animal Management: Canberra.)

Holmes, N. G., Dickens, H. F., Parker, H. L., Binns, M. M., Mellersh, C. S., and Sampson, J. (1995). Eighteen canine microsatellites. Animal Genetics 26, 132–133.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Hubisz, M. J., Falush, D., Stephens, M., and Pritchard, J. K. (2009). Inferring weak population structure with the assistance of sample group information. Molecular Ecology Resources 9, 1322–1332.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Ivanova, N. V., Dewaard, J. R., and Hebert, P. D. N. (2006). An inexpensive, automation-friendly protocol for recovering high-quality DNA. Molecular Ecology Notes 6, 998–1002.
CrossRef | CAS |

Jakobsson, M., and Rosenberg, N. A. (2007). CLUMPP: a cluster matching and permutation program for dealing with label switching and multimodality in analysis of population structure. Bioinformatics 23, 1801–1806.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Johnson, C. N., Isaac, J. L., and Fisher, D. O. (2007). Rarity of a top predator triggers continent-wide collapse of mammal prey: dingoes and marsupials in Australia. Proceedings. Biological Sciences 274, 341–346.
CrossRef |

Jones, E., and Stevens, P. L. (1988). Reproduction in wild canids, Canis familiaris, from the eastern highlands of Victoria. Wildlife Research 15, 385–394.
CrossRef |

Jost, L. (2008). GST and its relatives do not measure differentiation. Molecular Ecology 17, 4015–4026.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Konovalov, D. A., Manning, C., and Henshaw, M. T. (2004). KINGROUP: a program for pedigree relationship reconstruction and kin group assignments using genetic markers. Molecular Ecology Notes 4, 779–782.
CrossRef |

Mahood, M. (1996). ‘Icing on the Damper.’ (Central Queensland University Press: Rockhampton, Qld.)

Mayr, E. (1954). Change of Genetic Environment and Evolution. In ‘Evolution as a Process.’ (Eds J. Huxley, A. C. Hardy and E. B. Ford.) pp. 157–180. (Allen and Unwin: London.)

Meek, P. D. (1999). The movement, roaming behaviour and home range of free-roaming domestic dogs, Canis lupus familiaris, in coastal New South Wales. Wildlife Research 26, 847–855.
CrossRef |

Meggitt, M. J. (1965). The Association between Australian Aborigines and Dingoes. In ‘Man, Culture and Animals’. (Eds A. Leeds and A. Vayda.) pp. 7–26. (American Association for the Advancement of Science: Washington, DC.)

Mellersh, C. S., Langston, A. A., Acland, G. M., Fleming, M. A., Ray, K. W., Wiegand, N. A., Wiegand, N. A., Francisco, L. V., Gibbs, M., Aguirre, G. D., and Ostrander, E. A. (1997). A linkage map of the canine genome. Genomics 46, 326–336.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Mooney, H. A., and Cleland, E. E. (2001). The evolutionary impact of invasive species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 98, 5446–5451.
CrossRef | CAS |

Moore, W. S. (1977). An evaluation of narrow hybrid zones in vertebrates. The Quarterly Review of Biology 52, 263–277.
CrossRef |

Newsome, T. M. (2011). The ecology of the dingo (Canis lupus dingo) in the Tanami Desert in relation to human resource subsidies. Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Sydney.

Newsome, A. E., and Corbett, L. K. (1982). The identity of the dingo II. Hybridization with domestic dogs in captivity and in the wild. Australian Journal of Zoology 30, 365–374.
CrossRef |

Newsome, A. E., and Corbett, L. K. (1985). The identity of the dingo III. The incidence of dingoes, dogs and hybrids and their coat colours in remote and settled regions of Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 33, 363–375.
CrossRef |

Newsome, A. E., Corbett, L. K., and Carpenter, S. M. (1980). The identity of the dingo I. Morphological discriminants of dingo and dog skulls. Australian Journal of Zoology 28, 615–625.
CrossRef |

Newsome, T. M., Ballard, G.-A., Dickman, C. R., Fleming, P. J. S., and van de Ven, R. (2013). Home range, activity and sociality of a top predator, the dingo: a test of the Resource Dispersion Hypothesis. Ecography , .
CrossRef |

Ostrander, E. A., Sprague, G. F., and Rine, J. (1993). Identification and characterization of dinucleotide repeat (CA)n markers for genetic mapping in dog. Genomics 16, 207–213.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Ostrander, E. A., Mapa, F. A., Yee, M., and Rine, J. (1995). One hundred and one new simple sequence repeat-based markers for the canine genome. Mammalian Genome 6, 192–195.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Peakall, R., and Smouse, P. E. (2006). GENALEX 6: genetic analysis in Excel. Population genetic software for teaching and research. Molecular Ecology Notes 6, 288–295.
CrossRef |

Pople, A. R., Grigg, G. C., Cairns, S. C., Beard, L. A., and Alexander, P. (2000). Trends in the numbers of red kangaroos and emus on either side of the South Australian dingo fence: evidence for predator regulation? Wildlife Research 27, 269–276.
CrossRef |

Primmer, C. R., and Matthews, M. E. (1993). Canine tetranucleotide repeat polymorphism at the VIAS-D10 locus. Animal Genetics 24, 332.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Pritchard, J. K., Stephens, M., and Donnelly, P. (2000). Inference of population structure using multilocus genotype data. Genetics 155, 945–959.
| CAS | PubMed |

Raymond, M., and Rousset, F. (1995). GENEPOP (version 1.2): population genetics software for exact tests and ecumenicism. The Journal of Heredity 86, 248–249.

Rhymer, J. M., and Simberloff, D. (1996). Extinction by hybridization and introgression. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 27, 83–109.
CrossRef |

Richards, B., Skoletsky, J., Shuber, A. P., Balfour, R., Stern, R. C., Dorkin, H. L., Parad, R. B., Witt, D., and Klinger, K. W. (1993). Multiplex PCR amplification from the CFTR gene using DNA prepared from buccal brushes/swabs. Human Molecular Genetics 2, 159–163.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Robley, A., Gormley, A., Forsyth, D., Wilton, A., and Stephens, D. (2010). Movements and habitat selection by wild dogs in eastern Victoria. Australian Mammalogy 32, 23–32.
CrossRef |

Rose, D. B. (1992). ‘Dingo Makes Us Human: Life and Land in an Aboriginal Australian Culture.’ (Cambridge University Press: Melbourne.)

Rousset, F. (2008). GENEPOP’007: a complete re implementation of the genepop software for Windows and Linux. Molecular Ecology Resources 8, 103–106.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Rutledge, L. Y., Bos, K. I., Pearce, R. J., and White, B. N. (2010). Genetic and morphometric analysis of sixteenth century Canis skull fragments: implications for historic eastern and gray wolf distribution in North America. Conservation Genetics 11, 1273–1281.
CrossRef |

Savolainen, P., Leitner, T., Wilton, A. N., Matisoo-Smith, E., and Lundeberg, J. (2004). A detailed picture of the origin of the Australian dingo, obtained from the study of mitochondrial DNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 101, 12387–12390.
CrossRef | CAS |

Seehausen, O. L. E., Takimoto, G., Roy, D., and Jokela, J. (2008). Speciation reversal and biodiversity dynamics with hybridization in changing environments. Molecular Ecology 17, 30–44.
CrossRef |

Smith, B. P., and Litchfield, C. A. (2009). A review of the relationship between indigenous Australians, dingoes (Canis dingo) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Anthrozoos 22, 111–128.
CrossRef |

Stephens, D. (2011). The molecular ecology of Australian wild dogs: hybridisation, gene flow and genetic structure at multiple geographic scales. Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Western Australia, Perth.

Thomson, P. C. (1992). The behavioural ecology of dingoes in north-western Australia. IV. Social and spatial organisation, and movements. Wildlife Research 19, 543–563.
CrossRef |

Tunbridge, D. (1996). Mammals of the dreaming. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Canberra.

Wallach, A. D., and O’Neill, A. J. (2009). Threatened species indicate hot-spots of top–down regulation. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 32, 127–133.

Weir, B., and Cockerham, C. C. (1984). Estimating F-statistics for the analysis of population structure. Evolution 38, 1358–1370.
CrossRef |

Wilton, A. N. (2001). DNA methods of assessing dingo purity. In ‘A Symposium on the Dingo’. (Eds C. R. Dickman and D. Lunney.) pp. 49–56. (Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales: Sydney.)

Wilton, A. N., Stewart, D., and Zafiris, K. (1999). Microsatelite variation in the Australian dingo. The American Genetic Association 90, 108–111.
| CAS |

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2016