Mitochondrial DNA and palaeontological evidence for the origins of endangered European mink, Mustela lutreola

Mitochondrial DNA and palaeontological evidence for the origins of endangered European mink,... The European mink Mustela lutreola is one of Europe's most endangered carnivores, with few vulnerable populations remaining. Surprisingly, a recent phylogeny placed a single mink specimen within the polecat (M. putorius, M. eversmannii) group, suggesting a recent speciation and/or the effects of hybridization. The analysis has now been extended to a further 51 mink and polecats. As before, phylogenetic methods failed to resolve the relationships between the species. One haplotype (C11) was found in both species, and predominated in European mink from Spain and eastern Europe. The known M. lutreola fossils are of very young date, so either mink arose recently, or else the situation is confused by hybridization and a biased fossil recovery. The study highlights the dangers of using a single genetic marker in defining Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs). Polecats and European mink are clearly distinct in their morphology and ecology, and should still be considered as separate ESUs, but without further data it is difficult to define Management Units. Following the precautionary principle, we recommend that for the moment European mink in eastern Europe (Belarus, Estonia and Russia) and Spain should be managed separately. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animal Conservation Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
"Copyright © 2000 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company"
ISSN
1367-9430
eISSN
1469-1795
DOI
10.1111/j.1469-1795.2000.tb00119.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The European mink Mustela lutreola is one of Europe's most endangered carnivores, with few vulnerable populations remaining. Surprisingly, a recent phylogeny placed a single mink specimen within the polecat (M. putorius, M. eversmannii) group, suggesting a recent speciation and/or the effects of hybridization. The analysis has now been extended to a further 51 mink and polecats. As before, phylogenetic methods failed to resolve the relationships between the species. One haplotype (C11) was found in both species, and predominated in European mink from Spain and eastern Europe. The known M. lutreola fossils are of very young date, so either mink arose recently, or else the situation is confused by hybridization and a biased fossil recovery. The study highlights the dangers of using a single genetic marker in defining Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs). Polecats and European mink are clearly distinct in their morphology and ecology, and should still be considered as separate ESUs, but without further data it is difficult to define Management Units. Following the precautionary principle, we recommend that for the moment European mink in eastern Europe (Belarus, Estonia and Russia) and Spain should be managed separately.

Journal

Animal ConservationWiley

Published: Nov 1, 2000

References

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    Avise, J. C.
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    Carr, S. M.; Hicks, S. A
  • Considering evolutionary processes in conservation biology
    Crandall, K. A.; Bininda‐Emonds, O. R. P.; Mace, G. E.; Wayne, R. K.
  • The ribosomal database project
    Maidak, B. L.; Larsen, N.; McCaughey, M. J.; Overbeek, R.; Olsen, G. J.; Fogel, K.; Blandy, J.; Woese, C. R.
  • Why is the European mink, Mustela lutreola, disappearing? ‐ a review of the process and hypotheses
    Maran, T.; Henttonen, H.
  • Einige bemerkungen über ‘Mustela robusta Newt. (Kormos)’ bzw. ‘M. eversmanni soergeliÉhik.’ aus dem Ungarischen Pleistozän
    Mottl, M.
  • Animals of Eastern Europe and northern Asia Carnivore. II
    Ognev, S. I.

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