Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 97–100 | Cite as

Phylogeography of the southern medicinal leech, Hirudo verbana: a response to Živić et al. (2015)

  • Serge UtevskyEmail author
  • Peter Trontelj


In response to Živić et al. (Aquat Ecol 49:81–90, 2015. doi: 10.1007/s10452-015-9506-7), who dismissed the previously established subdivision of the southern medicinal leech Hirudo verbana into an Eastern and Western phylogroup, we present a re-analysis of their and other available DNA sequence (COI) data. We demonstrate that their data not only perfectly support this subdivision, but also improve the understanding of the boundary between both phylogroups. As predicted previously, it lies on the Balkan Peninsula, roughly following the divide between Danubian and Adriatic drainage basins. This finding is important from a conservation perspective, as medicinal leeches are endangered by over-collecting and habitat destruction.


Hirudo verbana Phylogeography Balkan Peninsula Suture zone 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Animal EcologyV. N. Karazin Kharkiv National UniversityKharkivUkraine
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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