Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 99–104 | Cite as

Low mitochondrial DNA diversity in the endangered Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) from SW Europe (Iberia) and NW Africa

  • Luis CadahíaEmail author
  • Juan J. Negro
  • Vicente Urios
Original Article


This study is an initial survey of the genetic diversity and population structure of the endangered Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) in SW Europe (Iberia) and NW Africa, two locations where the species has undergone a severe decrease in numbers during the last decades. It is also the first study in which the mitochondrial control region (CR) has been used to study the genetic diversity and population structure of this species. Samples were obtained from 72 individuals from Spain, Portugal and Morocco, and a 253-bp fragment of the mitochondrial control region was amplified and sequenced. Only three polymorphisms were present, indicating low nucleotide and haplotype diversity. No evidence of genetic structure was found. Several hypotheses may explain these results, including a possible greater genetic diversity in other regions of the mitochondrial genome or the existence of a presumed ancient bottleneck (last glaciation), possibly followed by a human-induced more recent one (twentieth century).


Bonelli’s eagle Control region Genetic diversity Mitochondrial DNA Western Palaearctic 



We are indebted to all of the people and organizations that provided samples for the present study: J. Balbontín (Estación Biológica de Doñana), S. Mira (University of Algarve), C. Gerique (C.R.F. El Saler), A. García (GREFA), I. Molina (EGMASA), M.R. Jané (ICRA) and A. Gardiazábal. We are also grateful to the Governments of the Comunidad Valenciana, Catalunya and Región de Murcia, the Universities of Barcelona and Miguel Hernández and the Spanish Ministerio de Medio Ambiente (especially V. García Matarranz) for giving permission to have access to nests and for invaluable field assistance. We appreciatively acknowledge J. Muñoz for his help in the laboratory as well as all of the other people working in the Laboratory of Molecular Ecology of the Estación Biológica de Doñana. We are grateful to S. Roques for her help with the software. E. Haring, A. Juan, R. Limiñana, E. Micó, A. Soutullo and two anonymous referees provided critical reading and very valuable comments on early versions of the manuscript. This project was funded by the Terra Natura Foundation. L. Cadahía is supported by a grant of the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (reference AP2001-1444). This paper is part of L. Cadahía’s PhD thesis at the University of Alicante.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Estación Biológica Terra Natura (Fundación Terra Natura – CIBIO)Universidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Conservación de la BiodiversidadEstación Biológica de Doñana, CSICSevillaSpain

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