Genetic diversity and phylogeography of Siberian roe deer, Caproulus pygargus, in central and peripheral populations
Extremely widespread in the Palaearctic, roe deer are heterogeneous in many ways including their morphology. At present, two roe deer species and four basic subspecies are acknowledged. The taxonomic system of the Siberian roe deer is poorly developed compared to that of the European roe deer. One of the principal points of roe deer systematics is the determination of the boundaries of the ranges of the roe deer subspecies requiring a thorough study of the species’ diversity. By using craniometry, one of the most adequate systematics techniques, we have analyzed geographical distribution of the Suberian roe deer in the Russian Far East and adjacent areas. All studied specimens were separated into three groups, the distributions of craniometric parameters of two of which did not overlap. One of the groups corresponds to Capreolus pygargus pygargus Pallas, 1771, while the other two do not correspond to any of the Siberian roe deer subspecies presently acknowledged. We have shown that the C. pygargus pygargus range extends to the east to the Northern Primorye, i.e., it is 2,000 to 3,000 km wider than previously believed. The subspecies status of Capreolus pygargus tianschanicus Satunin, 1906 was not confirmed. The Southern Primorye and left bank of the Amur River are thus a part of the range of Capreolus pygargus melanotis Miller, 1911, penetrating here from the Northeastern China.