DNA footprints of European hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus and E-concolor. Pleistocene refugia, postglacial expansion and colonization routes

J.M. Seddon, F. Santucci, N.J. Reeve, Godfrey Hewitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


European hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus and E. concolor, are among the many European plant and animal taxa that have been subjected to cyclical restriction to glacial refugia and interglacial expansion. An analysis of 95 mitotypes, comprising partial cytochrome b and control region sequences, shows deep divergence between the two hedgehog species. Three europaeus and two concolor clades are clearly identified and are consistent with previously identified refugia for Europe: the Iberian peninsula, Italy, and the Balkans. The degree of mitochondrial divergence among these clades suggests pre-Pleistocene separation of the refugial populations. In contrast, analysis of two nuclear introns clearly separates the two concolor clades, as in the mitochondrial data, but cannot discriminate the three europaeus clades. This discrepancy between nuclear and mitochondrial data is attributed to historical differences in the refugial population size of europaeus and concolor. The geographical distribution of mitotypes is analysed using nested clade analysis. This method, by including unobserved ('missing') mitotypes, can identify mitotype groupings that remain undetected in conventional analyses. However, the application of nested clade analysis to the study of refugial populations may be hampered by such factors as the loss of haplotypes from the refugial areas by repeated contractions of the population and the recent time scale of colonization relative to mutation rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2187-2198
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Cite this