We surveyed restriction site differences in mitochondrial DNA. (mtDNA) among five species of shad (Alosa) from North America and Europe. Allis shad, Alosa alosa and twaite shad, Alosa fallax shared two divergent genotype groups, suggesting that the two forms are either a single species, or are distinct species that have hybridized. Phenetic and cladistic analyses of the relationships among the mitochondrial genotypes defined two groups of shad, corresponding to the subgenera, Alosa and Pomolobus. The mean estimated sequence divergence between the mtDNAs of these two groups of shad was 6.5%. Taken in conjunction with fossil data, this divergence estimate suggests that the rate of mtDNA divergence between the two subgenera has been almost 10-fold lower than the ‘conventional’ clock calibration for mtDNA.