Genetic analysis of Turkish martens: Do two species of the genus Martes occur in Anatolia?

Ibis O., Koepfli K., ÖZCAN S., TEZ C.

ZOOLOGICA SCRIPTA, vol.47, no.4, pp.390-403, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/zsc.12289
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.390-403
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


Stone marten (Martes foina) and European pine marten (M.martes) occur in western Eurasia. Current distributions of martens within Turkey and phylogenetic relationships among the Turkish and other populations of the two species within Eurasia remain relatively unknown. In this study, we aimed to determine genetic diversity within Martes populations inhabiting Turkey and to reveal the phylogenetic relationships among the Turkish and conspecific populations of the two marten species, using mitochondrial cytochrome b (CytB) sequences. Twenty-four (24) haplotypes were identified among 86 marten samples collected across Turkey, including 23 novel haplotypes. Genetic distances among the Turkish haplotypes ranged from 0.1% to 0.8%, with an average of 0.3%. The 24 Turkish haplotypes were analysed together with those of conspecific populations deposited in GenBank. Phylogenetic (Bayesian Inference, maximum likelihood, neighbor-joining) and network analyses revealed that all of the Turkish samples belonged to M.foina and that samples of M.martes were not encountered. Haplotypes of M.foina were divided into five haplogroups. The haplogroup including the two Chinese samples differed markedly from other the haplogroups. The remaining haplogroups contained samples from both the Turkish and European populations. We found that there was a genetically close relationship between the Turkish and the European stone marten populations. As a result of this study, M.martes may not be distributed in the Anatolian part of Turkey, possibly due to a barrier effect of two straits (Dardanelles and Bosporus) and the Caucasus Mountains. On the other hand, M.foina is distributed in both the Anatolian and Thracian parts of Turkey. Our results suggest that Turkey was likely one of the refuges for M.foina during Pleistocene glacial periods and is one of the centres of distribution of stone marten for Europe and the surrounding regions.