First documented observation of differential dorsoventral coat colouration in wild boar Sus scrofa (Artyodactyla: Suidae) in Italy

Submitted: 6 October 2023
Accepted: 29 January 2024
Published: 17 April 2024
Abstract Views: 99
PDF: 113
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Wild boar Sus scrofa usually shows a uniform brown coat, but different colour patterns have been observed with red, brown, black, and white morphs. Nevertheless, coat colour polymorphism is often associated with hybridization with domestic pigs. The melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene and the agouti (ASIP) gene are the most studied genes involved in pigmentation in mammals. Particularly, mutations in the ASIP locus are responsible for a differential dorsoventral colouration. Polymorphisms in at least one of these two loci have been detected in all domestic breeds in Europe, while wild-type genotypes have almost exclusively been identified in wild boar. Therefore, coat colour polymorphism and MC1R/ASIP mutations are often used to detect wild/domestic hybrids. Here, the first documented observation of differential dorsoventral coat colouration in Sus scrofa in the wild is reported in a juvenile in Abruzzo National Park (Italy), raising some concerns about possible wild boar x domestic pig hybridization in this protected area.

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