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Volume 80, Issue 3 (May 2016)


Molecular evidence supports recent anthropogenic introduction of the Algerian hedgehog Atelerix algirus in Spain, Balearic and Canary islands from North Africa

Mourad Khaldi
  • Laboratoire d’Écologie, Département des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Faculté des Sciences, Pôle Universitaire de M’sila 28000, Algérie
/ Alexis Ribas
  • Biodiversity Research Group, Faculty of Science, Udon Thani Rajabhat University, 41000 Udon Thani, Thailand
/ Ghania Barech
  • Laboratoire d’Écologie, Département des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Faculté des Sciences, Pôle Universitaire de M’sila 28000, Algérie
/ Jean-Pierre Hugot
  • ISYEB UMR 7205 CNRS MNHN UPMC EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités, 57 rue Cuvier, CP 51, 75005 Paris, France
/ Meryam Benyettou
  • Laboratoire d’Écologie, Département des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Faculté des Sciences, Pôle Universitaire de M’sila 28000, Algérie
/ Lila Albane
  • Laboratoire d’Écologie, Département des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Faculté des Sciences, Pôle Universitaire de M’sila 28000, Algérie
/ Antoni Arrizabalaga
  • Granollers Museum of Natural Sciences, C/Francesc Macià, 51 08402 Granollers, Barcelona, Spain
/ Violaine Nicolas
  • Corresponding author
  • ISYEB UMR 7205 CNRS MNHN UPMC EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités, 57 rue Cuvier, CP 51, 75005 Paris, France
  • Email:
Published Online: 2015-07-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2014-0180


The Algerian hedgehog, Atelerix algirus, is recorded from North Africa, the Balearic, Canary and Maltese islands, and into parts of the Mediterranean coastal regions of Spain. The lack of an archeozoological record in Europe, Balearic, Maltese or Canary Islands has led several authors to postulate recent introductions by humans, but few studies actually investigated this hypothesis. We used both mitochondrial and nuclear genes to test it. To this aim, we widely sampled the Algerian hedgehog in North Africa (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), continental Spain (Catalonia), and Balearic and Canary islands. Our mitochondrial and nuclear data are consistent and show low genetic diversity across the geographical range of the Algerian hedgehog. Our results suggest the recent colonisation of Spain, Balearic and Canary Islands by this species (Holocene), probably mediated by humans. Several subspecies, mainly based on pelage variations, have been described either from mainland or island populations, but our data do not show any genetic discontinuity, suggesting that subspecific recognition may be unwarranted.

Keywords: anthropogenic introduction; Erinaceidae; Islands; Mediterranean basin; phylogeography


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About the article

Received: 2014-12-19

Accepted: 2015-06-05

Published Online: 2015-07-17

Published in Print: 2016-05-01

Citation Information: Mammalia, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2014-0180. Export Citation

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