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Heredity (Edinb). 2009 Aug;103(2):178-87. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2009.47. Epub 2009 Apr 29.

Mitochondrial DNA signatures at different spatial scales: from the effects of the Straits of Gibraltar to population structure in the meridional serotine bat (Eptesicus isabellinus).

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Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Sevilla, Spain.


The meridional serotine bat Eptesicus isabellinus is found in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. We analyzed the genetic structure of E. isabellinus at two different geographic scales to reveal the historical and ecological patterns that have shaped its populations. The role of the Straits of Gibraltar as an isolating barrier between African and Iberian populations is evaluated and the degree of genetic structure and female-mediated gene flow was assessed at a local scale between neighboring colonies. Populations of E. isabellinus from Iberia and northern Morocco show little genetic divergence and share mtDNA haplotypes, indicating that the Straits of Gibraltar are neither an impediment to dispersal nor a cause of genetic differentiation. Our results also suggest that E. isabellinus may have dispersed from western Andalusia into northern Morocco after the last glacial period. At a smaller geographic scale, the colonies studied showed high variation in genetic variability and structure, indicating that no female-mediated gene flow is present. This pattern is consistent with a described pattern of independent endemic viral circulation of the bat rabies virus EBLV-1, which was found when studying rabies dynamics in the same serotine bat colonies.

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