Phylogeography of desert hedgehogs (Paraechinus aethiopicus) in Qatar: Implications for its intra-specific phylogeny and taxonomy

Denise O'Meara, Catherine O'Reilly, Abdirahman Ali Abdullahi, Mohammad Abu Baker, Nobuyuki Yamaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The desert hedgehog, Paraechinus aethiopicus, is the only indigenous hedgehog species in Qatar. We investigated the phylogeny and population structure of desert hedgehogs in Qatar for the first time using sections of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome-b and control regions. We found two distinct haplotypes in each mtDNA region within Qatar. However, they do not show a clear phylogeographic structure, suggesting that vicariance by distance over hyper-arid environments may not apply to this desert-adapted species. Nevertheless, the desert hedgehog in Qatar and the few specimens analysed to date from the Arabian Peninsula are genetically distinct from the desert hedgehog in North Africa which may warrant reclassification as a distinct species. Further research is needed, particularly within the Middle East to better understand the genetic diversity of the species and to aid future conservation and management decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104584
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume193
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Desert
  • Haplotype
  • Middle east
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • North africa
  • Vicariance

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