Mitochondrial diversity in Algerian hedgehogs (Atelerix algirus) from Malta

Authors

  • Emanuela Bazzoni Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy
  • Roberta Lecis Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy
  • Vincent Attard Nature Trust - FEE Malta, PO Box 9, Valletta VLT 1000, Malta
  • Massimo Scandura Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10267065

Keywords:

mtDNA, North African hedgehogs, genetic diversity, phylogeography

Abstract

Island species are often understudied although being frequently represented by small and fragmented populations, potentially vulnerable to extinction. We investigated the phylogenetic position of hedgehogs living in Malta, by means of mitochondrial DNA control region analysis. A total of eleven Algerian hedgehog Atelerix algirus samples provided by a Wildlife Rescue Centre in Malta were processed for DNA extraction and sequencing. Phylogeographic analyses suggested the presence of different haplogroups within the species A.algirus: one endemic to Morocco (and Canary Islands), another widely distributed in North Africa (reaching Spain and Balearic Islands), and a third haplogroup represented by the two haplotypes detected in Malta, an apparently ancestral and diverging lineage typical of the island. We discuss management and conservation implications and put the basis for further research on Maltese hedgehogs.

Published

2023-11-01

How to Cite

Bazzoni, E., Lecis, R., Attard, V., & Scandura, M. (2023). Mitochondrial diversity in Algerian hedgehogs (Atelerix algirus) from Malta. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 8(1), 409–420. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10267065