The sequence of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecule of the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) was determined. The length of the sequence presented is 17,442 nucleotides (nt). The molecule is thus the largest eutherian mtDNA molecule so far reported. The organization of the molecule conforms with that of other eutherians, but the control region of the molecule is exceptionally long, 1,988 nt, due to the presence of repeated motifs at two different positions in the 3' part of the control region. The length of the control region is not absolute due to pronounced heteroplasmy caused by variable numbers of the motif TACGCA in one of the repetitive regions. The sequence presented includes 46 repeats of this type. The other repeated region is composed of different AT-rich repeats. This region was identical among four clones studied. Comparison of mitochondrial peptide-coding genes identified a separate position of the hedgehog among several mammalian orders. The concatenated protein sequence of the 13 peptide-coding genes was used in a phylogenetic study using the opossum as outgroup. The position of the hedgehog sequence was basal among the other eutherian sequences included: human, rat, mouse, cow, blue whale, harbor seal, and horse. The analysis did not resolve the relationship among carnivores, perissodactyls, and artiodactyls/cetaceans, suggesting a closer relationship among these orders than acknowledged by classical approaches.