Current issue: 54(2)
The objective of our study was to assess the genetic and morphological differentiation of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) in Lithuania based on DNA markers, skull and anther morphology. DNA was extracted from 79 culled individuals at 13 locations and genotyped at five nuclear microsatellite loci. Based on culling location, individuals were assigned to either a field (N = 43) or a forest ecotype (N = 36). Skull and antler morphometry was studied on 603 and 292 individuals, respectively. Results showed no significant genetic and skull morphology differentiation between the ecotypes. The forest ecotype tends to exhibit lower genetic diversity compared to the field ecotype, particularly for male individuals. The genetic differentiation of roe deer in Lithuania was significant based on the RST values, but not on the FST values. A STRUCTURE analyses revealed southern and northern genetic clusters, most likely affected by divergent gene flow. The country’s major rivers Nemunas and Neris are likely to increase differentiation between the clusters. ANOVA on skull morphology by gender and age indicated a significant effect of geographical location. Skull size (especially length) is greater in the northern part of the country. We also found significant effects of age, ecotype and geographical location on most of the roe deer male antler morphometric traits.