Variability and phylogenetic relationships of sequences of the hypervariable domain I (HVI) of the mitochondrial DNA was studied in 46 brown hares (Lepus europaeus) from Anatolia, to test the hypotheses that (i) hares from several islands off the Anatolian coast and from Cyprus are phylogenetically close to mainland Anatolian hares, (ii) Anatolian hare sequence variability is higher than that of typical European brown hares, and to iii) infer possible Anatolian source populations of hares from some islands in the eastern Mediterranean. Neighbor joining and Maximum Parsimony analyses revealed reciprocal monophyly for sequences from Anatolia, the considered eastern Mediterranean islands off the Anatolian coast, Cyprus, and those sequences published earlier form NE Greece that were supposed to originate from earlier immigration via the late-Pleistocene/early-Holocene land bridge that connected SE Europe and W Anatolia (Kasapidis et al., 2005. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 34, 55-66). A high sequence idiosyncrasy was found among the Anatolian samples. Almost all approaches to compare variability between Anatolian and the downloaded European sequence data indicated higher sequence diversity in Anatolia, in accordance with earlier findings for allozyme loci. Network and principal coordinate analyses of the Anatolian sequences and those from the islands off the Anatolian coast as well as the Anatolian-type NE Greek sequences suggested high mitochondrial gene exchange among local populations in Anatolia with little effect of possible geographic barriers, and did not provide clues for tracing possible origins of island populations. (C) 2008 Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Saugetierkunde. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.