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