Abrothrix olivaceus is the most abundant and widespread species of sigmodontine rodent in Chile. We evaluated phylogeographic relationships within A. olivaceous based on analyses of 67 specimens collected along most of the distributional range of the species. We used nucleotide sequence data from the hypervariable domain I of the mitochondrial DNA control region. Examination of our data supports a northern origin for this taxon, followed by southward dispersal. Also, we propose the occurrence of a new subspecies of A. olivaceus in the northernmost limit of the species' range. We detected a significant influence of recent paleoclimatic events on the current distribution of A. olivaceus, particularly in south-central Chile. The results also support the genetic distinctness of nominal subspecies proposed in the classical literature.
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