The origin, the phylogeographical structure and divergence times of hybridrogenetic Squalius alburnoides complex were analysed based on the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (1140 pb). The molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that the S. alburnoides complex has at least five asexual lineages of independent origin. The events that produced this ancestral hybridization took place over a long period of time. There have been multiple hybridization events throughout time, beginning in the upper Pliocene and probably continuing into the present. Increased humidity caused by climate changes in the Pliocene, along with tectonic lifting and vasculation of the Iberian Peninsula, led to the formation of current river drainages which, in turn, contributed to these hybridization events. We postulate that the Northwestern (Mondego and Douro) and the Southwest (Quarteira) drainages of the Iberian Peninsula delimited the border of the maternal ancestral distribution and that vicariant events led to the disappearance of the maternal ancestor in these regions, leaving today only the hybrid species. Two hypotheses have been suggested to explain the similarities between the mtDNA diversity observed in S. alburnoides and its maternal ancestor (S. pyrenaicus). The first hypothesizes that mtDNA similarity results from the recent extinction of the paternal ancestor, while the other postulates that: ‘reconstituted non hybrid males’ assumed the place of the extinct bisexual paternal ancestor and produced new hybridizations with S. pyrenaicus females.
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